Truly, genuinely, wonderfully theatrical

It’s absolutely refreshing—in the present-day theatre world full of shows that can easily be TV sitcoms or TV dramas—to see a production that’s truly, genuinely, wonderfully theatrical. I applaud Woodshed Collective for their risk-taking project—this environmental site-specific show that does justice to Caridad Svich’s lyrical play Twelve Ophelias. … But what makes this production so compelling and unique is the beautiful coordination of three main elements: the organic set-design by Gabriel Hainer Evansohn, who uses the empty McCarren pool in a very intelligent and effective way, with attention to details and symbols/metaphors at the same time; the precise and imaginative “stage” direction of Teddy Bergman; and the music written and performed live by the arresting Jones Street Boys (with lyrics by Svich). The atmosphere they manage to induce in this empty pool—transformed into a performance space with rope-roads, wooden-decks, plastic leaves, and imaginary rivers—has intimacy, sensuality, and vibrancy. No wonder people come to have picnics and chomp on pieces of watermelons and chocolate while letting themselves be transfigured by the show (as the ladies sitting on blue beach rugs in front of me did). The sky above us, changing colors; the spectators sitting in a circle, like a breathing amphitheater; the engaging actors telling a new old story—it sounds like a perfect way of spending a hot-hot-hot evening in New York, doesn’t it?