Sinking Ship Productions’ impressive stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story, A Hunger Artist, is a poignant and effective piece of theatre. To tell this powerful story, Jon Levin, Josh Luxenberg, and Joshua William Gelb employ great writing, acting, puppetry, audience participation, and creative elements of design in the set, costumes, lights and sound to deliver a full and impactful production.
Jon Levin in A Hunger Artist. Photo by Kelly Stuart.
The 75 minute one man show begins with a boisterous impresario who sets the stage with a large trunk-like box that proves to have a clever design. The impresario is acutely aware of his captive audience as he begins a small puppet theatre to tell us about the hunger artist and the art of hungering. After deciding that the toy theatre is too small, he invites members of the audience onto the stage to play parts in the typical fanfare that would occur on the hunger artist’s 40th day of fasting. Abruptly, the hunger artist appears in his small cage, and after the celebration dissipates, he demonstrates his dissatisfaction with how his art is perceived. Starvation as an art form is rather absurd to begin with, yet the hunger artist’s desire to continue his art after its popularity has passed is hardly understandable. To watch this character struggle is to question how far an artist will go for their art, and the answer is the blunt inevitable.
Jon Levin is absolutely incredible. As the impresario and circus master, he is vibrant and charismatic, and his timing is impeccable. As the hunger artist, he is somber and silent, and his fragile looking body is surprisingly strong and dexterous. The technical aspects are done so well that it allows Levin to carry this production with sheer vitality and unquestionable skill.
Jon Levin in A Hunger Artist. Set Design by Peiyi Wong. Photo by Kelly Stuart.
Starting with Josh Luxenberg’s writing, the tone of A Hunger Artist captures the nihilistic and macabre traits of Kafka’s original story, often pitting merriment and celebration against depression and desolation. From the period costumes and set design by Peiyi Wong to the versatile lighting by Kate McGee, every element is for the purpose of telling this story and creating an unforgettable experience. The puppets, designed by Charlie Kanev and Sarah Nolan, add an inventive display of character to the performance, both literally and figuratively. M Florian Staab’s sound design frames every moment of Joshua William Gelb’s direction – they are integral to each other.
A Hunger Artist is the epitome of how theatrical elements can be used to turn incredible stories into transformative works of art. If you’re looking for an excellent piece of theatre, I urge you to see this powerful performance.
A Hunger Artist: Sinking Ship Productions via The Tank’s Flint & Tinder series, Connelly Theatre, 220 East 4th Street. Runs through June 27. Purchase tickets at www.thetanknyc.org
My View: IT’S TOUGH TO SWING LIKE FRANK….THIS TOUGH GUY CAN…..ROBERT DAVI
The atmosphere in The Boca Black Box was akin to The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas last night as movie/TV star Robert Davi (140 films and counting) swaggered onto the stage to sing and swing the songs of Frank Sinatra. His show, titled “My Kind Of Town” had all the elements of a Sinatra event thanks to Davi’s personality which radiates the same mystique and musical excitement that ‘Ol Blue Eyes” possessed. Robert Davi’s performance was not a great actor acting a role… this was Robert Davi, a great actor who started his career as a trained singer thrilling an audience singing songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, but with Davi’s own magnetism and vocal prowess. I don’t know if Sinatra ever played Boca Raton but Robert Davi turned Boca into ‘his kind of town last night” as he brought the musical substance and charisma of “the chairman of the board” to South Florida.
Davi’s had a long and distinguished career in show business and this Boca Black Box audience got to see a lot of the musical part of it last night. The tough guy movie actor sang the music of Frank swinging it “his way”
About Robert Davi:
Robert Davi, an American actor, singer, writer, and producer has played the roles of main villain and drug lord Franz Sanchez in the 1989 James Bond film License to Kill. He was FBI Special Agent Bailey Malone in the NBC television series Proflier. He played a Vietnam veteran and FBI Special Agent Big Johnson in Die Hard. Davi played the opera-singing heavy Jake Fratelli in The goonies, Hans Zarba in Son of the Pink Panther and Al Torres in Showgirls. His album, Davi Sings Sinatra—On The Road to Romance, hit #6 on the Billboard jazz charts. Praised for his voice, Davi debuted as a headliner at The Venetian, in Las Vegas.
My View: Who Knew Broadway and 42nd Street Ran All The Way to Boca/Delray…The Wick Theatre
Who knew 42nd Street and Broadway ran all the way down to Boca/Delray and end at The Wick Theatre and Museum Club! In an event yesterday afternoon that rivaled any Broadway Opening Night Party, Marilynn & Kimberly Wick celebrated the opening of The Wick’s 2023/2024 season with a spectacular immersive exhibition of “Dancing Feet” The Experience, 42nd Street. They also had in attendance none other than the star of the original Tony Award Winning Broadway show (42nd Street) Lee Roy Reams on the Museum Club’s Stage to add commentary, sing, and have a fun filled talk back with the audience. Lee Roy, who starred as Billy Lawlor in the 1980 production, shared many anecdotes about the musical during the video presentation, including insights about renowned choreographer Gower Champion and his untimely death on the day of the show’s Broadway opening. The legendary show went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical and Best Choreography. While Reams continued his illustrious career in musical theatre, starring in numerous Broadway shows including The Producers and La Cage Aux Folles, and at The Wick, he created a sensation with his role as Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!
“The Wick is breaking new ground in both entertainment and technology by creating these immersive experiences that both entertain and educate audiences about the history of Broadway,” said Kimberly Wick, curator. “As the owners of the largest Broadway costume collection in the nation, we are thrilled to add this innovation as another way to preserve the incredible artistry of our past for generations to come.”
Last year, The Wick Costume Museum underwent a dramatic high-tech transformation, resulting in a stunning new venue, rechristened The Museum Club at The Wick. The completely renovated space thrilled guests with 360-degree immersive video experiences, historic costume displays, dining, and entertainment.
My View: No Pause In The Laughter At Menopause The Musical 2
The hysterical sequel to the smash-hit Menopause The Musical is finally here and it’s National Tour landed at the Aventura Cultural Center in Florida this week. America, get ready to cheer and laugh on a cruise through “The Change” with your beloved ladies 5 years after their chance encounter in a department store. They have nothing in common but memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more! This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, will have you dancing in the aisles as the audience did at the performance we attended ( and has been doing since the original Menopause The Musical opened 20 years ago). If you think #1 was #1 wait till you see # 2.
My View: Maestro Steven Reineke Rehearses The New York Pops for Tonight’s Concert
The New York Pops under the baton of Maestro Steven Reineke kicks off the 2023-2024 season at Carnegie Hall tonight. The concert celebrates 21st Century Broadway. We were there as guest artists Haley Kilgore, Derek Klena, Javier Munoz and Ali Stroker rehearsed with the orchestra.
Check out the photos
My View: The Rolls Royce Of Music At Cafe Carlyle…. John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey
Henry Royce and Charles Rolls joined forces to create something that became an everlasting expression of excellence, and that’s exactly what John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey create. Their musical virtuosity, artistry, creativity, and personalities took last night’s Cafe Carlyle audience ( which included Maestro Steven Reineke of the New York Pops) on a musical journey that was smooth, elegant, and exciting. It’s their 17th year at Cafe Carlyle and here are some of my photos of a great evening. What a special birthday present for me in my __ year.
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