Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Slow Air: The Moving Tale of an Estranged Brother and Sister

Slow Air @ 59 E59 Theaters

The Scottish Week Theater celebration, at 59E59 Theaters, has brought in an unexpected and wonderful play, Slow Air.  It is a two person, story-telling play – where the actors address the audience directly instead of each other.  The device allows the characters to open up about emotions and insecurities, which they can’t do face to face with others.  It allows the audience to share their introspection and, in this case, builds tension for what will ensue.

Susan Vidler as Morna, and Lewis Howden as her brother, Athol in SLOW AIR

The two characters here are Athol and Morna, adult siblings who haven’t spoken in 14 years.  Athol, played by Lewis Howden, is the stable brother.  He has grown up, built a floor tiling business and raised a family with his wife.  They have moved to Glasgow, made friends with their neighbors and settled into a comfortable life.  Mr. Howden beautifully brings to life the pleasant and unassuming Athol.  A man perfectly suited to his current situation, but uneasy when his emotional boundaries are tested.
And his sister, Morna, excels in testing Athol’s boundaries.  Susan Vidler brings the hyperkinetic Morna to life, demanding attention even when sitting still.  Morna hasn’t traveled far from home, living in Dalry with her son, Joshua.  It is the unseen Joshua who provides the catalyst for Morna and Athol’s story.  On his 21st birthday, Joshua goes to visit the Aunt and Uncle he hasn’t seen in 14 years.
Slow Air explores the ties of family and community, and how seemingly random coincidences affect those ties.  Ultimately, Slow Air is wistful and hopeful story.  It is not so much a tale of “love wins out”,but a more truthful “love gives us a chance”.
David Shea handles the lighting design expertly, always critical in a show where the focus transitions between monologues.  David Harrower, the writer and director, brings the story to life gently and slowly, opening up the story in bits to make a satisfying whole.  It is a tentatively happy tale – which is the perfect tone, without ever becoming saccharine.  
Slow Air at 59E59 Theaters
Playwright: David Harrower
Director: David Harrower
Cast: Lewis Howden, Susan Vidler
Through April 29th (website)

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