It has been quite a while since a play has grabbed my attention from beginning to end, but that is the case with this touring masterpiece named Throat. Although on first glance one might think this is a political piece, it is, in fact, far from it.
Yes it is about a young Marine back from a tour in Iraq and it has some very pointed things to say about how war takes its toll on a soldier’s body and mind. It could just as easily be about a terrible automobile accident or any other tragedy where someone feels tremendous guilt and stress.
The show is about the power of friendship and love and more importantly that both trump even the tragedies of war. Mando Alvarado has written a play that is truly riveting and contains characters that you immediately fall in love with. Throat’s minimal set has you imagining the black box on G Street is filled with pigeons or that Blackhawks are flying over head, or the bar is about to close. As you can probably tell by now, I will not be giving you the plot twists or outcome of this show because I want you to discover them for yourselves. It should be pointed out that this cast has performed the show to sold-out audiences in New York, so let’s discuss the performances.
The show has a cast of three and each actor is so extraordinarily good that I cannot truly choose any one as the best performance. That said, I watched with emotion as Lisa Sauber as Maggie had tears in her eyes at play’s end. Her air guitar dance in the bar is so sexy she qualifies for babe status in any young man’s top ten list. There is tremendous emotion in this play and Ms. Sauber who plays a licensed counselor, Raúl Castillo as Cesar the returned Marine and Todd Spicer as Jack all contribute absolutely spectacular award-worthy performances. Even more amazing than the acting is the steady and imaginative direction by Helen Hayes Award winner, Michael Ray Escamilla who comes up with some very inventive uses of space and movement. The technical aspects of the show are all top notch. The sound design is powerful and nuanced giving us the power of war and the natural sounds of a city park.
When Throat is over, it becomes obvious that this New York company has brought us one smash mouth play.
by Mando Alavarado
Directed by Michael Ray Escamilla
Reviewed by Ronnie Ruff
Throat runs November 1 – 18, 2006 at the Mead Theatre Lab, Flashpoint. 916 G Street NW, Washington, DC. 20001. Showtimes: Wed – Sat, 8 pm. Sunday, 2 pm. Tickets: $20. Call 212 352 3101 or order online at www.theatermania.com