Written and Directed by Jim Shankman
Part of the 2018 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 10.28.18
FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street
by Regina Robbins on 10.14.18
Lilli Stein and Alex Hazen Floyd in The Church of St. Luke in the Fields. Photo by Shira Friedman.
BOTTOM LINE: New York City teens hash out their problems (real and imagined) in the courtyard of a Greenwich Village church.
We were all teenagers once, and I feel confident in saying that most well-adjusted people are glad those days are over. That said, everyone likes to reminisce from time to time, and The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, written and directed by Jim Shankman, allows us to do that for just a little while. For those of us who grew up in New York City, it provides an extra dash of nostalgia.
Jonah (Alex Hazen Floyd) is a prep school kid with major family stresses. His complex relationship with Sally (Lilli Stein) is tearing both of them apart. He's earnest, she's damaged, and they're both too smart for their own good. In the peaceful yard behind a local church (which in real life is just five minutes away from the performance space), they test one another's boundaries. But the intervention of Freddy (Nelson Avidon), a cranky older guy with his own problems, might help them cut through the adolescent bullshit and find a way to be happy.
Floyd's performance goes a long way toward making this talky piece more genuine: the play's only 85 minutes long, but, like many conversations between teenagers, it goes in circles. Jonah and Sally's tortured friendship/romance will be recognizable to anyone who ever fell in love in high school; whether you find this mostly charming or largely tiresome may depend on how long ago that was. The Church of St. Luke in the Fields is a familiar slice of New York life...maybe just a touch too familiar.
(The Church of St. Luke in The Fields plays at FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street at Charles Street, through October 28, 2018. Meet at the SILVER FringeNYC flag. The running time is 1 hour 25 minutes. Performances are Sat 10/13 at 7, Mon 10/15 at 4:45, Sat 10/20 at 2:45, Thu 10/25 at 9:30, and Sun 10/28 at 4:15. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $22 (plus $3.69 ticketing fee), $16 (plus $3.51) for seniors, and are ONLY available online at fringenyc.org. For more information visit jimshankman.com.)
The Church Of St. Luke In The Fields is written and directed by Jim Shankman. Lighting and Sound Design by Jason Zanitsch. Production Stage Manager is Esther Bermann.
The cast is Nelson Avidon, Alex Hazen Floyd, and Lilli Stein.