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a Play
by Jorge Ignacio Cortinas

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 333

SHOWING : April 13, 2002 - May 19, 2002



In this beautiful new play, the frustrations and desires of one Havana family simmer in the shadow of the Castro regime. First appearing in GroundWorks, the Allianceís program for new play development, Sleepwalkers pursues its own American dream.

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Hypnotic and Dreamlike
by ArturoV
Friday, May 3, 2002
Don't go this production expecting Death of a Salesman type theater. Beyond the dialog there is a mood, a feeling, that gradually seeps in. Previously, I had only experienced this from some books, movies and music like Pink Floyd's "Echoes".
Like a dream that you wake up in the middle of, this play stays with you long after you leave the theater. Highly recommended. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Absorbing, Riveting, Fresh, New, Must SEE
by Ben Brantley
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
I have lived in New York most of my life and get to see many shows by many talented people. Lucky for me I happened into this little gem while on buisiness here in Atlanta. Sleepwalkers is beautifully written and fiercely acted, directed, and designed by a top level group of artists. On the surface what you are watching seems very simple and the problems to be solved very Seinfeld-ian paticularly in a scene between the Skinny Woman and the Butcher where she needs meat, the Butcher doesn't have any, or does he? The acting is minimal but very absorbing, YOU MUST PAY ATTENTION to the actor's and what they are saying when they aren't saying anything. Playwright Cortinas and director Polendo have formulated a show that is outside the bounderies of the standard Western drama which makes for an exciting fresh theater going experience. Riveting performances from this tight ensemble of six Because of this however, (particularly reading what other "reviewers" had to say)average Joe Jerry Springer fan is probably going to miss what is going on beneath the surface. Atlanta is lucky to have this production in it's hands. I hope it finds a life elsewhere. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
"Jerry Springer" crack by Angelico
I was listening to them, and found that they really didn't say much at all. Beneath the murky surface of this play was a lot of bad acting and an even worse script. Please leave me with my own opinion in the future and leave the low shots at home.
Lovely and Moving
by CobbCountyDame
Saturday, April 27, 2002
Could it be that it reminded me of Brecht because the political moments seemed so organic, and then almost playful when they come out of the mouth of the twelve year old? I think I thought also of Italian films like Miracle in Rome, because it seemed realistic and poetic at the same time. This play has huge heart. I was intrigued throughout, and enjoyed the way the story moved forward by degrees, not jumps. I was crying at the end, which surprised me because I thought it was cold at first. I didn't like the set (looks like a parking lot) and thought the director did a poor job of focusing our attention on the details. Special kudos due to Spohia Salguero and Nick Bixby. The older actors didn't trust the script and kept trying to force a naturalism that I thought flattened the strange and pretty moments of disconnect in the script. I hope the Alliance is doing what it can to get the right audience for this show, I don't think it's what their subscribers expect. Might the Universities be a place to get audience for this? Or the Art School? The alternative music scene? A play I wish I had writen. I am so happy I got to see it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Refreshing, Heartbreaking, and Disquieting
by modernman
Friday, April 26, 2002
Bias against out of town artists not withstanding, this show brings a fresh aesthetic breath to Atlanta theatre. Hauntingly minimalist, and under acted to riveting effect, this is an elegant meditation on Marxist ideology, the weight of history, and frustrated desire. Those steeped in so called "naturalistic" histrionics and dramaturgical structures that do the work for you, will likely be disappointed. But if you enjoy the work of writers like Fornes, Beckett or Pinter, run to see this challenging play. I haven't been able to get it out of my head. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Two Good Actors Trapped in a Really Bad Play
by Angelico
Monday, April 22, 2002
DO NOT SEE THIS SHOW, unless you need a nap or want to see really good tech work, but tech can only make a show better, it cannot save it or bring it life it doesn't deserve.

A few points to ponder:

1)No matter how bad the majority of the acting and script are, the lighting designer and the set designer were brilliant. Then comes the question of the necessity of the intricate technical elements, but then that's a question for the director (I sincerely hope those were written into the script and not a directorial choice, please, please.)

2)There are two good actors in this play: a) the soldier/father and b) the neighbor lady. I would love to see them in another play even at the Alliance. However, they were not enough to pull this dismal show from the ashes of it's own pyre.

3) I can't believe this drivel has won awards.

And all this without an intermission. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Soggy Symbolism
by Dedalus
Monday, April 22, 2002
The Alliance's production of "Sleepwalkers" proved to be a major disappointment. Pitched as a lyrical and symbolic representation of life in post Cold War Cuba, it was instead a pedantic, heavy-handed, and surprisingly banal piece that said nothing new in a manner that was self-consciously "arty". There was not a single moment that I believed, a single character I'll remember, or a single line that rose above above the mundane.

The "lyricism" consisted solely of over-obvious symbolism, especially of water trickling on stage and off like a monotonous fountain. But when the symbolism is there for its own sake, having nothing to do with what's happening on stage and with the characters, it becomes distracting and annoying, and, in the final analysis, pointless. Better use was made of a broken-down bicycle. But, even there, the symbolism was undercut by having it repaired at a climactic moment, and by the characters describing (in detail) what it meant to their lives. Symbolism, to be effective, needs to be discovered by an audience, not rammed down its throat.

The language of the play was so banal, so filled with cliche, and so dull, that, in every scene, I found myself mourning the loss of true poetry and lyricism. The conversations were so pointless, that anything of real significance was lost.

There is a legitimate point made, about how life in Havana has made "Sleepwalkers" out of its citizens, but to have the characters sleepwalk through this dialogue was counter-productive and, theatrically, self-defeating.


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