Views From The Fringe: Part II

August 17, 2005

It's been awhile since Gothamist read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, a scathingly funny novel about 1930s Russia that is the inspiration for this play by Ashlin Halfnight. "Inspiration" is a loose term, of course, and the play bears little obvious resemblance to the book, so you needn't have read it.

The title refers both to St. Petersburg, Florida, where old people go to wait for death, and to the room the actors inhabit onstage, which is Limbo. A husband, his rich young mistress, his wife, and his wife's ultra-religious Russian immigrant employee are there trying to find a way out of that maddening in-between place by reenacting scenes from their past.

The company, Performance Lab 115, is mostly made up of Columbia MFA grads, and they all shine in their intense roles. In addition to being riveted by their rage – at each other, at themselves, at God – the audience is implicated in the drama and made to take on at least a small part of the existential agony, which may not be "fun" but it does make for a theater experience that is both intellectually and spiritually rewarding. Even if this show doesn't get extended, expect to see this young company and its members enriching the theater scene for some time to come.

(PS 122 Downstairs, 150 1st Ave. Remaining performances: Friday 8/19, 10pm; Sat. 8/20, 3pm; Thurs. 8/25, 9pm; Sun. 8/28 noon.)