If you got over to the Nutley Little Theatre on Sunday afternoon to catch the Readers' Theatre presentation of "MARTY" then what I have to say won't surprise you.
The troupe, directed by Don Sheffrin, performed the 1955 TV version of Paddy Chayefsky's play "Marty." In those days, to be a widow at 56 was virtually the end of your days.
Except for two actors in brown shoes, all the actors wore black. Except for four deep blue bar stools and one breakfast nook stool, the bare stage was all black too. Better to fill in the imagery with your imagination. Worked for me.
The Readers' Theatre has been around for years, and I'm only sorry that I didn't discover them for myself long ago.
This performance - yeah, I know they were 'only reading' - put you in the center of the action. You listen to the words and hear the descriptions, and you are transported to the scene of the play: a butcher shop, a bar, a dance hall, a darkened apartment.
Three characters stood out in this excellent performance.
Kevin Hersh as Marty certainly drew on the empathy of the audience. Regardless of his physical attributes of the 30-ish single butcher, Hersh brought you inside the character and you could feel his loneliness.
Marty's Mother Pat La Carrubba - had the role down to the deep sarcasm and 'the look' and you knew there was a whole lot more going on that what words seeped out.
As Clara, Cody Dalton seemed to have lived this play - she and Hersh broke away from the bar stools the other scenes had depended on, and walked around the stage, and touched, and hugged. I bet you could feel the big man in the back row of the audience turn his head away and wipe away the tears before anyone saw him.
Kudos to all. Another well kept secret performed as if the whole world was watching.
After all, the world should be watching, and listening!
Copyright © 2006 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.
Earlier post on this play - press release
Nutley Little Theatre Catch: Fuddy Meers By David Lindsay-Abaire; Directed by Penny Paul; in February.