EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the January 28, 2016 Broadway World Review of Under The Skin By Charles Shubow
It is at its heart, a play about forgiveness. It's also about scars, whether they are emotional scars that one suffers or physical scars for the both the donor and the recipient of a transplant.
The "fourth wall " is broken from the beginning as the four actors address the audience. We are told, "This story is not about kidneys but about the human heart, the boundaries of the body, and the limits of love". It ends the same way.
The central figure of the play is Lou who has lived a life full of lies. An established carpenter who specializes in restoration, especially old staircases, he has a daughter, Raina. Lou, left his wife and Raina blames him for her mother smoking and dying because of this. Lou has been estranged from his daughter and hasn't even seen his four year old grand-daughter. Oh...he also never attended the funeral of his ex-wife after being urged to do so by Raina.
While this is a very serious subject, the play is filled with humor. That is what drew Lancisi to add the play to this season's line-up.
Playing the role of Lou is the superb Mitchell Hebert who has appeared all over the local theater landscape from UNCLE VANYA at Everyman to SUNDAY IN THE PARK at the Signature to his memorable performance in CLYBOURNE PARK at Woolly Mammoth where he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award. Look for him to direct CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF at Bethesda's Round House Theatre in April. He reminded so much of the Academy Award winning actor J.K. Simmons who won for "Whiplash".
Everyman Resident Company Member Megan Anderson gives a riveting performance as Lou's daughter Raina who is faced with a complex decision. How does one do this? She makes a long list of pros and cons. The list is many pages long and they all deal with "cons".
Baltimore School of the Arts' Alumnus (and NYU's acclaimed Tisch School of the Arts) Keith L. Royal Smith returns to Everyman after his great work in RUINED has two roles, first as Lou's understanding nurse, Hector, and then as Jarrell, who meets Raina while she is considering filling out the immense paper work necessary for a donation.
Also playing two roles is the exceptionally talented Alice M. Gatling, making her Everyman debut. Gatling originated these roles in Philadelphia. Not only does she play Lou's heavy -accented African-born doctor but undertakes the very moving role of Marline, Jarrell's mother, who has a complex, long, and tough background , yet is full of love and understanding. Gatling shines in both her roles.
Jay A. Herzog, Everyman's Resident Lighting Designer for 20 years is celebrating this 50th production at Everyman. Herzog has a special connection to the production since he just celebrated his one-year anniversary of liver transplant. His lighting as always demonstrates his considerable skills.
Everyman should be applauded for its multi-faceted community engagement partnership with four organ donation organizations: The Living Legacy Foundation, The Kidney Foundation of Maryland, Donate Life Maryland, and TRIO Maryland. These organizations will be sharing information with audiences in the theater lobby. The partnership will culminate with a special event on February 14, 2016 when following the matinee, patrons will be invited to listen to and share their experiences with fellow organ donors, recipients, and their families. At every performance, there will be representatives from the partner organizations available to discuss organ donations and transplants.