(Raul Andres Ramirez as Harold, in the delightful musical fable Fly By Night)
Cynthia Berresse Ploski
(originally published in the 6/25/18 edition of The Chronicle-News)
This deeply meaningful and delightfully presented musical fable written by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick and Kim Rosenstock, is like a refreshing swimming pool on a hot day. People can enjoy jumping in at whatever depth is appropriate to their comfort level.
By cannon-balling into the deep end, one can plunge into a thinly veiled metaphysical story about the Human Condition. But on the other hand, one can enjoy simply splashing in the delightful stories, songs, and comedy presented onstage.
The ideal, of course, is to jump into the middle, where the currents from both ends converge.
The story of dealing with the darkness is a fable, and as with every good fable, there are many lessons dwelling within the words on its page. [Kayla Ryan Walsh, Brian Kamps, Raul Andres Ramirez, Jamie Billings, Jacquie Jo Billings, Zachary Davidson, and Danny LeMache], This year’s crop of summer SCRT cast members present the lessons with a professional skill that keeps one’s mind entertained with the story at the same time as awarenesses of deeper meanings creep silently and softly into the depths of consciousness.
Fly By Night’s peephole through the window of time occurs in 1965, during the year leading up to the great December New York Blackout that plunged the whole northeast United States into darkness.
During this year we meet many characters on stage, each with a personal story that intersects the others, in an invisible geometric pattern symbolic of the fabric of life.
There is a crabby old man who runs a delicatessen in New York. His helper is a dreamer that can’t put his dreams into action. There are two sisters form North Dakota who come to New York to make their dreams become real – Daphne, an aspiring actress and Miriam, a repressed astronomer content to be a waitress. So we have a circle of static frustration around the crabby deli owner, whose name not surprisingly is Mr. Crabble, and a triangular love affair involving his helper Harold and the sisters.
There is also a grieving widower having a tangential relationship with his son, Harold, and an aspiring playwright who forms an intense bond with Daphne while Miriam seeks her true love with the help of a very unusual fortuneteller who also guides the play’s action as the Narrator.
While the play consists of wonderful songs, dances and very funny moments, it is really about grief, sadness, love, ambition, hope, fear, joy and longing. In short, this musical production bespeaks our journey in life – and the conclusion is: those with whom we journey help create the scenery along the road we take. We should trust the connections to everything and everyone as we move along that path.
In the hands of Director Eli Carpenter, the fable is subtly enhanced with small touches that express deep meaning. As an example, flowers, tossed into Harold’s mother’s grave, are worn by the other characters to help us understand that grief lingers long after the event has passed. Words have double meaning, cleverly executed for those who are open to hear. “What does time look like when it stops?” is a persistent query throughout the play. Time does stop, or repeat itself onstage; yet it is not until we see a broken alarm clock that we get that connection between metaphor and reality.
Of course much more bubbles up from the deep end of that swimming pool. But there’s plenty on stage to amuse and amaze. Take for instance the remarkable set conceived and brought to life by Scenic Designer Owen Nuss. Panels open up from building-like structures to become beds or a deli counter or table and chairs of a restaurant, sliding back out of sight once again when no longer needed, with the ease of closing a kitchen cabinet door.
Or enjoy the lighting designed by G. Austin Allen, emanating from both onstage and offstage sources that subtly illuminate the actors throughout the show; yet in the second act pierces total darkness with brilliant enlightening celestial showers of stars.
With music directed by Jolyne Antista and choreography by James F. Bruenger III, this is an enchanting production, appropriate for all ages. A delightful show!
Mark your calendars!
Fly By Night will be presented at the SCRT Famous Performing Arts Theatre, 131 W. Main St in Trinidad, throughout the summer season at 7:30 pm on June 22 and 23; July 13 and 21; August 3 and 11.
Matinees will be at 2:30 pm on Sundays June 24, July 29 and August 19.
For further information or to purchase tickets call the Box Office 719-846-4765, stop by the SCRT Box Office at 131 W Main St, or go online at scrtheatre.com to see more about the actors and creators.
For more details about the SCRT, visit SCRTheatre.com and follow us on Facebook
& Instagram @SCRTheatre.