Windows – Perspectives on Pandemic Isolation

Windows takes us back to early days of the pandemic when lock down was frightening and paramount, everything was delivered, and physical appearance went to hell. The piece is comprised of eight scenes, at least two of which could be successfully jettisoned for weaker writing and more tenuous relevance. Otherwise, segments are deft and empathetic if not presenting anything new.

Carolyn McCormick

Being Seen: The Wife (Carolyn McCormick) “I’m thinking about not brushing my teeth,” begins an admittedly proud trophy wife. Older husband Graham, insisting he had business in the city, fell to the disease. Worry is now focused on children, parents, and yes, her wealth. On Zoom, girlfriends moan about weight gain and praise mascara. The monologue is credible and well acted. McCormick personifies a realistic woman, a bit sad, but not broken. Timing is excellent.

Adam Kantor

The Man Who Couldn’t Google: The Writer (Adam Kantor) The writer is living in a hooded onesie. Blocked with progress on his book, scathing emails nonetheless flow. Also a dozen suicide notes – “I never would.” With only cat, Dan Brown for company -“I named him after a not particularly good writer,” he wonders whether he can survive on bagel chips and Pop-Tarts. An unexpected call arrives. Kantor is nervous and absent minded in an understated, believable way.

Avantika, Tovah Feldshuh

Windows: The Fledgling, The Neighbor (Avantika, Tovah Feldshuh) A Generation X woman who never bothered to meet her neighbors grows concerned about the elderly woman who’s wandered outside in her bathrobe. Calling across yards, she learns a beloved bird has escaped. When it’s found, the young woman agrees to care for the feathered pet while her neighbor goes to hospital. Intention is clear, but the piece is too thin for either actress to get hold of character.

Tony Danza

Second Thoughts: The Drinker (Tony Danza) The Drinker is an avid sports fan. Never imbibing anything but beer at home, therefore not an alcoholic, he found himself an upscale watering hole – “I can’t afford the food” – where he’s known by bartenders and regulars. Like most of his ilk, he never learned last names and is now cut off from social intercourse. The man has no job, no money, and is primarily worried about himself. Danza’s gravelly voice and Brooklyn accent create a blue collar guy wading in self pity. Adroit.

Erin Darke

Working From Home: The Mommy (Erin Darke) “Every day we pick a new theme and build our world around it…Enchanted Forest was a surprise failure, Soap Day a success I didn’t see coming.” Her husband is stuck abroad. Little Maddie misses grandma. How does a mother explain what’s going on to a four year old who thinks she can fix anything? A surprise birthday party surprises them both. Darke is sympathetic and tender.

Craig Bierko, Tonya Pinkins

National Pastime: The Protester, The Owner (Craig Bierko, Tonya Pinkins) A well heeled white man takes cover in a Black woman’s music store during a political demonstration. (Demonstration for what?) The facility has been smashed up and robbed. She orders him out. Conversation involves describing her losses to a lawyer who left the public defender’s office to buy $3000 suits. She’s bitter, he’s unapologetic. Connection to the pandemic is sketchy as are both roles in context.

Tovah Feldshuh

Nurse #5: The Grandmother (Tovah Feldshuh) Having lost her nurse daughter to COVID, grandma is about to drive her grandson cross country to his dad. She has insufficient income, no home without her daughter’s house, and no clear next steps. The nine year old is taking circumstances in stride. Losing a medical practitioner during COVID is a sadly familiar story. Were Feldshuh not reading, the chapter would’ve been more effective, still the actress manages to be moving.

Jesse Nager, Jeffrey Donovan

Thank You For Your Service: The Performer, The Soldier (Jesse Nager, Jeffrey Donovan) A Black Broadway performer is stopped by police because he’s African American and jailed because he has two cartons of liquor in his trunk. His cell mate is a White man who got into a fight when he refused to wear a mask. The characters meet in an unlikely middle with the actor belting a much too long version of “Tomorrow” from Annie. Both performers are good – Nager startled, Donovan resigned. Both know how to listen.

Director Mitchell Maxwell handles the cornucopia of characters with a steady hand. Actors talk to us with focus. Only National Pastime suffers from lack of clear intention.

Costumes by David C. Wollard feel authentic.

Photos by David Zayas, Jr.

Windows by Tawni O’Dell
Directed by Mitchell Maxwell

The Town Hall
123 West 43rd Street

About Alix Cohen (1787 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of ten New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, TheaterLife, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.