- OnStage Chief New York Theatre Critic
Part I of Ice Factory Festival’s “The Anthropologists Save the World!” currently running at New Ohio Theatre, is entitled “The Lecture” and begins with the announcement of a lecture by utopian novelist Aldous Huxley (unfortunately not named in the program). Huxley begins to expound about “Man and the Potentialities for Human Change.” Sue, the absent member of the smoker’s cessation group, has instructed Huxley (resurrected?) to address the group. The lecture part of the “Lecture” is somewhat engaging: the unidentified (baffling) actor delivers Huxley’s ideas in a deadpan but interesting fashion. At first, he lectures to an empty room, then he is interrupted by the group members as they enter for their session. That is when things begin to fall apart in “The Anthropologists Save the World” and there is no recovery through the remainder of “The Lecture” nor in Parts II and III of the performance.
It is difficult to make what is obviously interesting. And that might be the main problem with the Anthropologists’ efforts here. They have not managed to find a new way to negotiate their way through the moral and political problems of the day with any fresh insights.
The cast and creative team work hard to make it work; however, ultimately, the endeavor does not measure up. The characters are not interesting nor are their conflicts. It is impossible, therefore to drive any captivating plot lines. Certainly, there is no opportunity for catharsis.
THE ANTHROPOLOGISTS SAVE THE WORLD!
With Michael Ables, Alexandra Bonesho, Mark Cisneros, Mariah Freda, Jean Goto, Marianne Hardart, Brian Demar Jones, Brianna Kalisch, and Arisael Rivera.
The creative team includes Dramaturg: Lynde Rosario, Lighting Design/Production Manager: Ali Hall, Sound Design: Andy Cohen, and Stage Manager: Tiffany McCue. Production photos by Jody Christopherson.
Performances are Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $20.00, and $16.00 for students and seniors, and can be purchased online at http://NewOhioTheatre.org or by calling 212-352-3101. For info visit http://NewOhioTheatre.org, Like on Facebook at https://www.Facebook.com/NewOhioTheatre and https://www.Facebook.com/IceFactoryFestival, follow on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/newohiotheatre) at @NewOhioTheatre, and for up-to-the-minute festival updates follow on Twitter (https://Twitter.com/NewOhioTheatre) at @NewOhioTheatre. Running time is 90 minutes without intermission.
Photo: (L-R) Mark Cisneros as Jeff, Michael Ables as Karma, Jean Goto as Edna and Marianne Hardart as Linden in The Lecture, part of “The Anthropologists Save The World!” Credit: Jody Christopherson.