Anthony J. Piccione
New York Theatre Critic
Last summer, I had the chance to see many of the shows that were participating in the 10th annual Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. There were many intriguing selections, not all of which I had the chance to see, unfortunately. Among such shows which I had been hoping to see, at the time, was Girl Inside the Mirror, a new theatre-dance piece from writer/director Nicoletta Mandriotti. Thankfully, however, I recently had the chance to see it during its second run at Theater for the New City – as part of their annual Dream Up festival – upon being invited to review the show.
This provocative performance piece is one that surrounds the audience – both figuratively, and in some cases, literally – with a sense of what it is like (should they not already know) to be constantly objectified as a woman. In a very surrealist and in-yer-face manner, we see the lead performers constantly pushed around and verbally tortured by a choir of both compliments and insults. Throughout, there are several moments which are bound to leave audience members shaken, if not emotional. Furthermore, while I can only speculate, as a male reviewer, I can imagine that nearly any woman who sees this will relate significantly to the content of this piece, on some level.
The show is beautifully choreographed, down to every detail, with both Ms. Mandriotti and her choreographer Lindsey Dietz Marchant deserving every ounce of praise they’ve gotten for making this show as this show both as elegant and as disturbing as it was. The cast consists of Rachel Berman, Carrie Keating, Anna Adams Sark, Kaylin Johnson, Sara Gallasini, Kelly Bartnik, Tara Sheena, and Kim Savarino, all of whom made up a remarkably talented ensemble of performers.
Also deserving of praise is lighting designer Gilberto "Lucky" Pearto, whose brilliant light design sets the haunting tone for the show, along with the various ambient and environmental sound effects that are heard throughout. The entire show is a stunning visual experience that needs to be seen with your own eyes, and the lighting and sound effects arguably deserve just as much credit as the performers, for making it as emotionally impactful as it is.
Don’t make the same mistake I did, back during its last run this past July. See it in its latest incarnation at the Dream Up festival now, while you still can. This is one of the finest examples of blending theatre and dance I’ve seen in 2018 so far, and the relevant subject matter – along with the production value – make it one of those shows that needs to be seen by as many people as possible.
“Girl Inside the Mirror” runs at Theater for the New City as part of the Dream Up Festival from September 6th-15th. For more information, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net.