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John Duddy as Tommy in The Night Alive by Conor McPherson. (Photo by Valerie Terranova)
NEW YORK – A powerful ensemble cast highlights the off-Broadway production of The Night Alive by Conor McPherson which opened on October 13 at the Chain Theatre, 312 West 36th Street in Manhattan. Produced by Maiden Productions and TeamTheater and directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan, the play draws the audience in with a compelling plot and unflinching dialogue delivered with emotional authenticity by a talented group of actors.
John Duddy, a former boxing champion in real life, portrays McPherson’s hero, Tommy. He gives an impressive performance as a middle-aged loner who has lost all hope; a Jack of all trades and master of none, living in his Uncle Maurice’s bedsit in North Dublin, scraping by through life with his loyal companion Doc. His accent and stage presence add a level of realism to the play that transports the audience to this specific moment when Tommy meets Aimee, played well by Molly Ehrenberg-Peters, and their lives are irrevocably changed. The onstage chemistry between the two actors is palpable and they lead us on a journey through their world. However dark it is, there seems to still be enough light and hope to carry them through with a witty remark and even a song.
The play examines loneliness and the search for human connection but with a welcome Dublin sense of humor. The actors, including three who trained at The Stella Adler Studio, skillfully navigate through the landmines of emotion in this, at times, very dark play. That being said, the veteran actor Lloyd Peters is a true treasure as Uncle Maurice and practically gives a masterclass in acting in The Night Alive.
Haydn Harvey as Doc and Thomas Shuman as Kenneth round out the cast, playing two memorable, though extremely different, characters in this must-see show that received rave reviews when it was performed at The Stella Adler Studio in October 2021.
Chrysi Sylaidi, co-Producer of The Night Alive and co-Artistic Director of TeamTheatre LLC, who is perhaps best known to the Greek-American community for her acting, spoke with The National Herald about the production in a previous interview.
“Since the pandemic, I’ve been looking to get involved in projects that truly have something to say or are just simply fun to do,” she said. “No matter what my role is in a project – whether I am acting, directing, producing or writing – that is the main guide for me. This is also something that Elena Dorothea Gloria and I aim to do in our collaborative work as co-Artistic Directors of the theatre company TeamTheatre LLC here in New York City. It is how we decided to co-produce The Night Alive and collaborate with Maiden Productions. The play is a deeply moving, cathartic story about our humanity and at the same time it is extremely funny. These qualities make it such a pleasure for an audience to witness. Moreover, the people bringing this show to life – including the actors, the designers, and producers, Molly Ehrenberg-Peters, Haydn Harvey and, Thomas Shuman – are incredibly talented and deserve all the support and attention.”
The Night Alive by Conor McPherson runs through October 22 at the Chain Theatre.
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