Damn, you want to see some great stuff, then just whistle across town to Barry University's Pelican Theatre and settle in for 85 minutes of intense theatre from the Naked Stage's production of The Turn of the Screw.
Jeffery Hatcher adapted the play from the short 1898 novel by Henry James and I, for one, am thankful that he did.
Katherine Amadeo and Matthew William Chizever are pure delight in this gloomy, ghostly tale of a young Victorian era governess hired by a London man about town to look after his orphaned niece and nephew in his country home. The big caveat: she must never contact the uncle, no matter the circumstances.
Ghosts might appear, deaths might occur, but never a word should go to the uncle.
Katherin Amedeo is the perfect 1872 governess, quiet, refined and imbued with the mannerisms of the age. Chizever is the unctuous uncle, ah, his voice, and also Mrs Grose the housekeeper and the 10 year old nephew, Miles. And this is where the delight comes in: watching these two actors at work.
Amedeo is brilliantly uncertain; did she really see the ghosts of Peter Quint, former valet, and his lover, Miss Jessel, the former governess? Is she attracted erotically to the young nephew? Are the ghosts threatening the children? Who was on the tower, in the garden, on the stairs? Is anything real?
Chizever's handling of his roles is a lesson in subtlety. His switches from male to female, from adult to child are remarkably believable. He has the essence of each character captured completely. Without visible effort. And he's graveyard noisy too.
Like all good ghost stories there is madness on display amongst the hints of child abuse and homosexuality in candle lit rooms and rain soaked, wind swept gardens. We never see eight year old Flora, but we know she's in danger in the rowboat on the lake. From whom? And why? And is it probable for a ten year old boy to seduce a twenty year old woman?
You won't get any answers, but what you will get is that nice feeling of man, that's just good theatre. I'm glad I came.
Credit Margaret M Ledford for the masterful direction of a piece that rings all the changes in the spooky old house whose interior was extraordinarily well created on stage by Antonio Amadeo. The just right Victorian costumes are by Leslye Menshouse and the this is how it was in 1872 sound is by Matt Corey. Margaret M. Ledford also designed the inspired lighting.
All of which goes to show that the tiny two person Katherine and Antonio Naked Stage can put on one of the best shows of the year.
The Turn of the Screw runs through August 12 in the Pelican Theatre on the Barry University campus, 11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores 866-811-4111
Photo Roger Martin