Crystal by Tyler Lormel, one of the entrees in the NY Summerfest, takes on issues that are very relevant today. Tyler was the first transgender woman to graduate from her high school, where she ran a Gay Straight Alliance. Tyler has taken her thoughts from high school and put them onto the stage. Her leading actor is a 17 year-old female to male transgender.
Crystal (Tyler Lormel) is like any other teenage girl, except she was born a boy. Her mother (Marisa Albano) is more involved in her own world and alcohol to even realize who Crystal really is. Relying on her best friend Maria (Victoria Rymer) for friendship and to help her change into her authentic self at school, Crystal for the most part is alone. Her ex-best friend, now one of the popular girls (Sabrina Terente), along with the high school jock (Will Simancas) torture Crystal everyway you can. When Maria’s cousin (Tyler Austin DiChiara) comes to class Crystal has her first crush. The problem is neither the jock nor the popular girl want Crystal to be happier than they are or at all, for that matter. Despite all that Crystal is self confident, talented and full of quips. When Maria unwittingly betrays Crystal, she realizes how much the world just may be against her, until she realizes just how strong she is. Through it all Crystal deep down believes in who she is.
The cast is uniformly rather good, making us care and follow the plot lines. I was especially impressed with Tyler Austin DiChiara who made us believe that a popular, charismatic boy could follow his heart.
Tyler Lormel is a talented actor and writer but needs to hone both. As an actor, she has a spark, but she isn’t controlled enough. It’s like she is walking through everyday and is not focused enough on stage. Though she appears very natural, acting is a little bit more heightened and specific. A great acting class would easily fix this. As a writer, Taylor writes in snippets and we never really get the full picture. She would be better off to expand the scenes and allow us to really sink into the feelings these characters are experiencing. For a first time playwright and actress though…….bravo. You have a lot to say.
Crystal : NY Summerfest, Hudson Guild Theatre, 441West 26th Street Closed