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THE ILLUSION Road Less Traveled Productions/RLTP Theatre
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Jan 24, 2019, 18:49
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Through February 18
THE ILLUSION Road Less Traveled Theatre/Road Less Traveled Productions

Many English language playwrights have long been fascinated with the work of French playwrights from the age of Moliere and Corneille.
They wrote so many plays there is a lot of material to work with.
Tony Kushner took Corneille’s “L’Illusion Comique” and turned it into “The Illusion.”
Corneille lived in a time when there was common belief in wizards and witches and this alternate universe.
It wasn’t just the French, since these same beliefs were behind the Salem witch trials of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”
Here, Kushnecr sets it up as a father getting older and regretting a fight which left his son disappearing down the road into the mists, continuing to set the story in Corneille’s time.
Pridamant (David Hayes) wants to know what has happened to him and visits the wizard Alcandre (Lisa Vitrano) looking for his son.
As we watch on the theater stage, we see parallel worlds, the father and search team in the cave and the son Calisto (Patrick Cameron) out in the world, where he has a wife Melibea (Cassie Cameron).
These parallel worlds also shift, as Pridamant raises questions about what his son might do, leading Alcandre to change the scenario.
Director John Hurley is working with one of those plays where some actors are playing several different parts, often making it a little complicated to figure out what’s going on.
Dad wants to move into the world of his son and that’s not allowed in this pairing of universes.
It does mean that characters from the different worlds can be standing right next to each other while theater convention means they can’t contact each other.
Because this is theater, there is also the rascal servant, here Elicia (Sara Kow-Falcone), who has plans of her own which involve Alcandre’s treasury.
There are also illusions (obviously) involving Amanuensis (Rolando Gomez), who is supposed to be a tongue-less and deliberately deafened guard to the cavern.
Wending his way through the mixture of stories is Matamore (Dave Marciniak), a lunatic.
He’s also more than a little over the top in his performance.
This a show where you sit back and watch and gradually assemble the story on stage, a series of plot and script elements which gradually coalesce into the conclusion.
Hurley has some strong performances to work with on Lynne Koscielniak’s set, especially Vitrano, Kow-Falcone and Cassie Cameron.
Gomez is in a world of his own in his twisting series of roles.
This mix of stage magic, mystical beliefs, some strong performances and a good set in “The Illusion” is worth seeing.

A.W.

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