At a Cocktail Party after QUEEN OF THE MIST

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa

Who expected to be wowed by a performance in a gym? Well, the Transportation Group Theater Company brought the audience along on quite a ride in their production at The Gym at Judson on Thompson Stree in the Village of Michael John LaChiusa's Queen of the Mist based on the story of Anna Edson Taylor (played by Tony-award-winning Marie Testa) who, at 63, was the first woman to barrel down Niagra Falls in 1901.

How do you create an epic in such a long narrow space between bleachers on either side of the wall? In the Gym at Judson, I sat on the lowest tier of bleacher a pair of bleachers that faced each other. I was so close to the actors that I had to draw my legs back to not trip them. But thanks to the ingenuity of the director, John Cunningham lll ( Hello Again, See Rock City and Other Destinations, Boys in the Band) and the whole production crew, I felt every roll of the waves, every thunk of the barrel, the power of the Falls. With simple props--an old-fashioned piano that was pushed across the stage, small platforms on wheels that became boats, even a toy wooden boat, suggested everything that was needed to bring the play home to one's heart.

The actors were In the talk back after the show (before the cake and the bubbly), Michael John LaChuisa, said LaChuisa confided that if his cat throws up as he'd playing a song, he knows that he shouldn't use it. And what the cat gave a nod to is purrr-fect.

This play is about how fame can sink you and how risking death can help you live. And it's about living your dream, no matter where it leads you. Get inspired. See Queen of the Mist.

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