Posted in Adam Fitzgerald, drama, Kef Productions, Ken Urban, Maulik Pancholy, mysterious, nightmarish, noir

"The Awake" Is Noirish But Not Bleak

Dreams can turn devilish and disrupt our lives in subtle ways.

Teaser courtesy of Kef Theatrical Productions

In Ken Urban’s “The Awake,” directed by Adam Fitzgerald, at 59E59 Theaters through September 8th, dreams seem to randomly echo our worst fears. Despite its noirish atmosphere of mystery and dread, “The Awake” remains nightmare-lite. In other words, to say it is noir-ish is to say it’s more gray than black.
Maulik Pancholy in Ken Urban’s “The Awake” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

“The Awake” is very entertaining, never more so than when Gabrielle (Lori Prince) brings her vaguely Balkan inflected narrative to startling conclusions. “I am actress, Gabrielle, yes,” she says, while her husband Richard (Jeff Biehl, in a variety of roles) explains away her accent by saying she watches too many foreign films.

Andy Phelan and Lori Prince in Ken Urban’s “The Awake” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

Gabrielle’s bright red dress, like her animated delivery brighten the gloom of “The Awake,” with its diverse population of haunted characters. Malcolm (Andy Phelan) doesn’t accept that his mother’s (Dee Nelson, also in the ensemble of roles) comma is permanent and fatal. Richard and his daughter Celeste (Jocelyn Kuritsky, who takes on a number of parts) seem to go in for devising instruments of torture. Nate (Maulik Pancholy) is a fugitive from Homeland Security.
Maulik Pancholy, Jeff Biehl and Lori Prince in Ken Urban’s “The Awake” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia
“The Awake” achieves what seems impossible at first, tying all its loose ends to one central locus. It begins with the individual night terrors of its main characters, Nate, Gabrielle, and Malcolm, and their significant and insignificant others, but pulls it altogether at the end. Not that it makes a great deal of sense in the linear traditions of a plot, but it brings its own dream-like denoument.
Lori Prince and Jocelyn Kuritsky in Ken Urban’s “The Awake” at 59E59 Theaters.
Photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia

For more information about Ken Urban’s “The Awake,” go to his site from here. For tickets for this production, go to www.59e59.org.