‘Night Alive’ Is a Dramatic Thrill Ride

DMD_4515 Cast and crew

Bravo to the cast and crew of “The Night Alive,” now staging at Guild Hall.                            Dane DuPuis photos. 

One of my favorite things about the East End is the proliferation of truly outstanding cultural opportunities. One place that certainly offers more than its fair share of such is Guild Hall in East Hampton, which never fails to deliver.

I was fortunate enough to get to go see  the big Saturday evening opener of “The Night Alive” this past weekend. What an amazing treat!

As I’ve come to expect, the set was incredible. Even more so since we audience members were invited to sit up on the stage all around the edge of the actor’s intimate creative space. I gotta tell you, that decision not only takes major cojones, it adds so much texture and awareness to the characters and their actions. Let us not forget that everyone involved in such a production–director, actors, crew–HAS to be at the top of their game in order to pull something like this off. They were and they did.

The dark Irish drama by Conor McPherson more than delivered. For me (and gauging by the rest of the audience’s reactions), it was truly a very special “Night” indeed. Kudos to director Stephen Hamilton; actors J. Stephen Brantley, Molly Carden, Rob DiSario, Tuck Milligan and Kevin O’Rourke; co-producer Ellen Myers; the entire crew–Brian Clemente, Ann Beyersdorfer, Alex Petersen, Yuka Silvera, Hannah Cook, Sebastian Paczynski, David Brandenburg, Dan Renkin and Chloe Dirksen–and production staff–Josh Gladstone, Jennifer Brondo (and Ivy!), Carey Jane Cardoso, Kat West, Emily Selyukova, Lee Michel, Joe Brondo, Johnny Kernisky, Michael Conrader, Kevin Preller and Designing Joe Pallister–as well as lead sponsors, the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation and Joanna S. Rose.

Aside from the acting, which was SUPERB (meaning it didn’t feel like acting at all, but like the real lives of these people we were closely watching) all around, I really enjoyed the attention to detail on the set, clothes and props, and the inventive “in plain view” moments between the scenes. Very smart.

I don’t want to ruin it for anybody by giving away the plot but I do have to say that it’s thrilling. And intricate. And full of hope, despair and abject terror. I’m still thinking about what it all means, now several days later. Go see it.

“The Night Alive” stages Wednesdays through Sundays at 8 p.m., through May 22. Make reservations at  GuildHall.org or Theatermania.com.

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