Loveness: I will only love you once – NY International Fringe FestivalAugust 13, 2014 - Theater Reviews
NY Theater Review by Marcina Zaccaria
“muMs” presents a V. Steinberg Production of Loveness: I will only love you once at the New York International Fringe Festival.
muMs has crafted a poetic drama fit for The Players Theatre in Greenwich Village. Loveness: I will only love you once is described as “a poetic dance between the experiential level of human reality.” The play is written by Craig “muMs” Grant, an American poet and actor, and directed by Jill DeArmon. It was developed with the Labyrinth Theater Company. Craig “muMs” Grant has performed on New York City stages for more than 20 years. He is known for playing Arnold Jackson, aka Poet, on the HBO hit show, Oz. muMs has performed at cafes, colleges, and universities in the United Stages, Europe, and Africa. muMs is member of the LAByrinth Theater Company and was seen in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
Loveness is the story of a shifting relationship. As Isabelle and Carlyle search for fundamental truth, they are also searching for brilliance. The play begins with the couple at dinner. They discuss what they want from a relationship, and how they hope that their lives will continue together. As they play progresses, Isabelle, played by Meridith Nicholaev, and Carlyle, played by Jinn S. Kim, continue to struggle as they seek to find a larger truth.
Smart supporting performances are by Marco Greco (Bartender) and Kelley Rae O’Donnell (Therapist). They shed light and dimension on the lead characters who disclose the difficulties of their relationship. The bartender seeks to introduce Carlyle to new influences, and the therapist assists Isabelle in finding the words to express her love. The drama about painters has a great structure, and each scene is neither too long nor too labored. In almost every moment, the play finds words to define the difficulties of finding a soul mate in New York City.
Director Jill DeArmon, who has been the Artistic Director of Center Stage for over 16 years, directs a careful production. The performances are inspired more by method acting than dance theater. DeArmon gives the fine ensemble a chance to play through the rich emotion of the text.Loveness: I will only love you once never falls into the trap of being indulgent. The spare scenic design includes only a few chairs. Costume Design by Tristan Raines is breathless and contemporary. Lighting Design by Michael Cole is refreshing.
Remaining shows: SUN 8/17 @ 7:45 WED 8/20 @ 7:15 FRI 8/22 @ 4:45 SAT 8/23 @ 7
The 18th Annual New York International Fringe Festival is running from August 8th-24th. It is a multi-arts festival that features drama, comedy, dance, and more. Loveness: I will only love you once is playing at The Players Theatre at 115 MacDougal Street. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at FringeCENTRAL at 114 Norfolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey Street. Additional information can be found at www.FringeNYC.org.
Loveness: I will only love you once
By Craig "muMs" Grant;
Directed by Jill DeArmon
Part of the 2014 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 8.23.14
The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street
by Jan Rosenberg on 8.12.14
BOTTOM LINE: A transcendental exploration of that fickle mistress: Love.
Loveness: I will only love you once takes a painfully honest look at self love, self repair, and ultimately, self destruction. Playwright and Poet Craig “muMs” Grant’s tender play begs the question: is love the symptom or the cure? It might be the faulty match that burns the apartment down.
Isabelle (Meridith Nicholaev) is a visual artist who’s licking her wounds after a nasty breakup. She puts her wacky, grounding therapist (Kelley Rae O’Donnell) on a dangerously high pedestal as she tries to open herself to be loved a second time.
Carlyle (Talym Jinn Kim), an artist come high school science teacher, has also recently broken up with an old girlfriend: Addiction. When he’s not teaching, he goes to visit the Bartender (Marco Greco), treating the bar like his confessional.
As these ill-fated lovers go from one date to the next, we experience their desperation and fear of being without an Other. Isabelle, earthy and at times condescending, triggers Carlyle’s insecurities surrounding his art. And while Carly is sweet, he’s also codependent and smothering. Yet the two of them try to make Love resurface, even when it becomes clear that they’re mistaking poison for medicine.
muMs is a colossal poet. His poetry seeps into his dialogue. Right away, I felt myself slip into a meditative state, transported by the fluidity of his language. The poetry is also present in the actors’ movements and subtle emotive gestures. This is a tribute to Jill DeArmon’s lovely direction and an emotionally resonant cast. I was particularly moved by Kim and Nicholaev’s vulnerable performances.
(Loveness: I will only love you once plays at the Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, through August 23, 2014. Remaining performances are Sunday 8/17 at 7:45PM; Wednesday 8/20 at 7:15PM, at 1:30PM; Friday 8/22 at 4:45PM; and Saturday 8/23 at 7:00PM. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org.)