I Now Pronounce @ The New Jewish Theatre

I Now Pronounce @ The New Jewish Theatre


The phrase “I now pronounce” must be used
in several civil and religious ceremonies. But any time I hear it, I think of only one. As the title of the current production at
The New Jewish Theatre, I Now Pronounce rightly indicates that this is a play about a wedding. An unusual wedding. The rabbi welcomes us and begins the ceremony. But he’s confused, repeats himself, gropes
for words, and then collapses, taking the chuppah down with him. Finally we meet the wedding party. A pre-nuptial reception continues off stage
while those in the wedding party try to figure out what to do. David Blake’s institutional design allows
the stage before us to be several rooms, depending on the furnishings. In one, a bridesmaid, Eva, and a groomsman,
Seth, meet. Eva fears her looks mean she will always be
a bridesmaid, and Seth is separated from his wife and maybe divorcing or maybe not. But he likes Eva’s looks just fine. Frankie Ferrari as Eva is taller than Ryan
Lawson-Maeske as Seth. This does not slow them down but does lead
them and director Edward Coffield to some amusing embraces. Michelle is another unhappy bridesmaid who
is making frequent visits to the libations in the next room. She, however, generates no interest from groomsman
Dave, a thorough cynic where romance and marriage are concerned. Delaney Piggins makes a sadly appealing Michelle. Will Bonfiglio finds moments for his abundant
comic skills even as Dave the grouch. When the bride and groom finally show up,
Jessica Kadish’s angry and frustrated Nicole turns into Bridezilla. Graham Emmons Adam the groom mostly finds
himself at a loss. Finally, an on-line ordination supplies, if
not a happy ending, at least a legal wedding. The rabbi’s widow, played in drag by Craig
Neuman, who had played the rabbi, arrives to collect his corpse and bless
the couple. Michele Siler’s costumes contribute to the
festivities, as do Tony Anselmo’s lights, Amanda Werre’s sound, and Amber Franek’s choreography. I Now Pronounce is a strange piece. I enjoyed some funny and clever moments, and
the performances, but I had trouble pulling the whole thing together.

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