American Century Theater The Tenth ManBy Mark Lee Adams • Sep 24th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
American Century Theater
Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA
Through October 25th
2:20 with two intermissions
$30-$35/$27-$32 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 18th, 2010
The Tenth Man saves the day!
American Century Theater’s current production is Paddy Chayefsky’s The Tenth Man. A wonderful story that looks into the lives of normal ordinary people and gives witness to the odd, mystic and sometimes very peculiar happenings that may occur to them.
Director, William Aitken, brings us Paddy Chayefsky’s play with a sense of the realism it was meant to be. True to the time and place and complete with all the nuance, flavor and subtext to give the audience a full appreciation for the time period and the story being told. His best move was in his casting of the main characters. Excellent choices created his vision of the lives of his characters and the adversity they are faced with.
The story of The Tenth Man is simple enough. A minyan is needed (A “minion” is a servant or subordinate and a “minyan” is a group of ten males, 13 years or older, required for conducting Jewish public worship). In this case the ceremony is for a young Jewish girl. A number of problems occur in attempting to find enough men who fit the requirement of a minyan, but also in finding the correct Rabbi to perform the ceremony. The situations become quite comical at times and pull the audience into the world of the men and woman of this particular Synagogue.
This particular production was truly, aside from the story the author wrote, saved by a 10th & 11th man. I have the utmost respect for any actors who have the courage to jump into a role at the 11th hour. This is what Richard Fiske in the role of Foreman and James Svatko in the role of Harris did. Richard & James stepped in to take very important roles in order to save the show. The original actor has taken ill and along with all at American Century Theater and everyone else connected with this production, I too wish this actor a speedy recovery. Personally, I thank Richard & James for taking on such a role and giving the performance they did. My hat is off to you both.
The Tenth Man has sparkling performances. The best performances to look for are those of Kari Ginsburg in the role of Evelyn Foreman & Steven Quartell in the role of Arthur Brooks. Both actors were so believable and true to their characters that I found myself totally engrossed in their characters’ growing relationship. Kari was spot on in her portrayal of Evelyn. Kari brought out all of the passion she gives to all her roles along with creating an inward soul of another possessing her. Scarily eerie at times. Steven plays his role with a certain casualness that was nice to see. He was almost effortless in his performance. Although more rejoicing from his character at the end of the show would’ve been nice.
Other notable performances were given by Craig Miller, Joe Cronin, Ron Sarro, Mick Tinder and Stephen Rourke. All these actors were playing members of the Synagogue and each having wonderful comic moments and stories to tell. I might caution against characterization at certain times. These are real people like anyone else.
The small set fits well in the Black-Box of Gunston Arts Two theatre space. As you sit you will feel the time period as well as the location of Mineola, NY. Mineola is a small town in Nassau County, Long Island, NY. The set is the Orthodox Synagogue and the Rabi’s office. The Scenic Designer, Jameson Shroyer created a lovely set although I did question his placement of the Torah cabinet or ‘ark’ against the upstage wall. Being against the upstage wall forced the actors, at times, to turn their collective backs to the audience, which made for an unpleasant view as well as making it more difficult to hear the actors. While on the subject of the set, the Rabbi’s desk was facing upstage. The placement of the desk in this way forced the actors, when sitting at the desk, to turn downstage in order to be seen by the audience. Also, certain moments were lost as the audience wasn’t allowed into the moment due to one of the actors having his/her back to the audience.
Ian Armstong’s sound design, David Olmsted’s lighting design as well as Anndi Daleske’s properties design and Rip Claassen’s costume design fit the show very well. I must say that one of the characters suit seemed to be ten sizes too big for him and made for a slight distraction.
I recommend this play!
Photos by Dennis Deloria.
- Hirschman (the Cabalist): Craig Miller
- Sexton: Joe Cronin
- Schlissel: Ron Sarro
- Zitorsky: Mick Tinder
- Alper: Stephen Rourke
- Foreman: Paul Danaceau
- Evelyn Foreman: Kari Ginsburg
- Arthur Brooks: Steven Quartell
- Harris: Richard Fiske
- Rabbi: Matthew Meixler
- Kessler Boys: Brenden Haley and Jim Callery
- Policeman: Bill Gordon
- Foreman understudied by Richard Fiske
- Harris understudied James Svatko
- Director: William Aitken
- Producer: Rip Claassen
- Stage Manager: David Olmsted
- Assistant Stage Manager: Jim Callery
- Technical Director/Scenic Design/Master Carpenter: Jameson Shroyer
- Lighting Design: Steven L. Barker
- Lighting Assistants: Ashley Swiger and Barbara Maltseva
- Sound Design: Ian Armstrong
- Costume Design: Rip Claassen
- Wardrobe Assistant: Jessica Branch
- Properties Design/Scenic Painting: Anndi Daleske
- Sound Board Operator: Grant Marshall
- Production Assistant: Kyler Schmitz
- Master Electrician: AnnMarie Castrigno
- Program Design and Cover Art: Michael Sherman
- Production Photography: Dennis Deloria
- Archivist: Kim-Scott Miller
Disclaimer: American Century Theater provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5563.
Mark Lee Adams has been involved in theatre for over 40 years in the local Washington DC Metro area as well as NYC and London England. Mark has performed at the Dramatist Guild Theatre on Broadway, at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre Off-Broadway. His credits include work in many local theatres as well: The Folger Theatre Group, Arena Stage, New Playwrights Theatre, 7th Street Players, The Keegan Theatre, The American Century Theatre, The Journeyman Theatre, ASTA Theatre, The Hayloft Dinner Theatre (Associate Producer), The Lazy Susan Theatre, Discovery Channels, "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" (Frankenstein) with Donald Sutherland. London, England credits include work at: The Duke of York Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, The Questors Theatre, The British Embassy Players. Mark is a graduate of The Drama Studio, London, England. Mark is also a narrator of audio books for Gildan Audio: “True North”, by Bill George; “Never Give Up”, by Tedy Bruschi and “Five Minds for the Future”, by Howard Gardner among them. Mark currently teaches Advanced Acting at The Little Theatre of Alexandria and still performs locally in many theatres.