Written by Christina Augello and John Caldon; Directed by Ryan Marchand
Produced by EXIT Theatre
Part of the 2017 FRIGID New York Festival
Off Off Broadway, Solo Show
Runs through 3.4.17
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place
by Rachel Lepore on 2.22.17
Christina Augello in Denial is a Wonderful Thing. Photo by Steven Crouch.
BOTTOM LINE: Six decades of adventure, discovery, and denial in one charming hour.
Holding herself with the charm and elegance of a heroine from a classic film noir, Christina Augello shares her life’s story. It is one of travels to far-off lands, finding fathers, difficult mothers, and a rich love of life itself. Half of her story travels chronologically, while the other half covers a romance that took her across the globe. There’s drama, there are some delightful laughs, and there is a lot of heart.
Denial is a Wonderful Thing is a show of rich language. There is little physical action; much of the story exists in the pictures painted with words by Augello and co-playwright John Caldon. While the quick pace makes a few moments a bit hard to follow, the speech and delivery is smooth and captivating enough to keep you hanging on to each word. However, some of the most fun is had when there are little stumbles and Augello lets herself laugh. Then it feels like, rather then being told a story, the audience is receiving a secret. It is like being one of Augello’s dear friends, and nothing seems like it would be more fun than that.
A special mention must go to Gregory Scharpen's sound design and Curtis Overacre's lighting design. The perfectly set tunes and lush colors fill out the world of Denial, guiding the audience along through time and countries. Although the physical space of the theatre is small, their work makes it feel like a grand place in which many adventures can fit.
Augello is a woman who has clearly lived a vivid life in her six decades. If this is what could fit in an hour, one has to wonder what other fascinating stories she must have. Considering how gorgeous much of the text is, a book might be an even better platform for this material. Until then, we have this darling show.
(Denial is a Wonderful Thing plays at UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, through March 5, 2017. The running time is one hour. Performances are Thu 2/16 at 7:10, Sat 2/18 at 2:10, Tue 2/21 at 7:10, Sun 2/26 at 5:10, Wed 3/1 at 7:10, and Sat 3/4 at 8:50. Tickets are $15, $10 for students/seniors/military, and are available at FRIGIDNewYork.info.)
Denial is a Wonderful Thing is written by Christina Augello and John Caldon. Performed by Christina Augello. Directed by Ryan Marchand. Lighting Design is by Curtis Overacre. Sound Design is by Greogry Scharpen.