Max Berry, Contributing Critic - New York City
Written by Ailis Ni Riain and directed by Ran Xia, “The Tallest Man in the World” tells a relatable story through an abstract lense.
Telling three intersecting stories, “The Tallest Man in the World” takes us through the fragmented mind of a man struggling with alcoholism and how that affects those around him. At the same time, we are taken to a far-off island in Ireland, home of the tallest man in the world. We see him struggle with his isolation and loneliness, a perfect mirror to the alcoholic memories of the first man.
The story is told non linearly, traveling back and forth from location to location, from past to present, and back again. This style ensures that you, as an audience member, are always thinking, trying to piece together each tangled thread you are presented with. Even at the end, not every question is answered and yet you walk out completely satisfied. “The Tallest Man in the World” is certainly a show that I will be thinking about for the next few days. And even then I don’t think I will ever really know everything.
Riain writes almost in poetry, taking full advantage of what language has to offer. She crafts lines that, while out of normal speech, feel right at home in the world of the play. Every word is felt. Every line used to its full potential. The dialogue is dance and we are swept away. The actors take on this abstract way of speaking and squeeze it for everything it's got.
The three actors compliment each other beautifully. Daniel Carlton brings an honest desperation to the struggling man, Finn Kilgore brings us the resigned loneliness and fleeting hope of the tallest man in the world, and Beatriz Miranda gives a spark filled performance as the daughter of the alcoholic. No one felt overshadowed, each actor gave us something unique. The staging of the play was also very striking. Being in an intimate space these characters problems were right in your face. You felt as though you were right there with them. This was helped by the unique design of the space, providing a small stage area on the house left side of the theatre along with the main stage space. This further enhanced the immersion of the play and was used very effectively throughout.
“The Tallest Man in the World” was a unique and beautiful piece of theatre and I left deeply moved and with many questions, which is exactly what I want out of a play when I step through the theatre doors. I look forward to seeing where it goes next.
“The Tallest Man in the World” was written by Ailis Ni Riain and director by Ran Xia. at The Tank (312 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018).
It features: Daniel Carlton, Finn Kilgore, and Beatriz Miranda
Lighting Design by Anthony Sertel Dean and scenic and costume design by Sean Devare
Production Stage Manager: Christian Roberson
Dialect Coaches: Joy Lanceta Coronel, Lily Narbonne
It runs March 6-17 2019. For more information go to https://www.thetanknyc.org/the-tallest-man-in-the-world