Without actually smelling it, the stench of stale beer permeated Eddie’s crap-hole apartment. Petty thieves, smart alec jerks, low-life amateur cons, and shape-shifters, litter the neighborhood that starts when you enter the Alchemist Theatre. It’s dingy. It’s plastered with aerosol tags and shitty band posters, were you just there or are you here? The Bowery was kind of like that. New York 1977 that’s where we are, in the Kitchen.
Aaron Kopec steps off the curb into the gangways of the Rotten Apple to set his latest production Another Tale of Eddie, the first episode in his New York Stories trilogy set for this spring. Like the title says, this tale is about Eddie Valentine (David Sapiro), an oxymoron of a character. He lacks enough scruples to guiltlessly ensnare straggling neophyte posers in petty schemes that separate them from their loose change. At the same time he’s so un-hardcore, he demonstrates repeated he lacks the stomach to really be a heartless bastard that belongs to the night.
Eddie’s running mate Izzy (April Paul) kicks her wits in a nasal Queens-laden inflection, smacking him coldly with sobering sarcasm at every opportunity. She’s not the sharpest razor, only getting the job done as needed. When she teams up with Eddie to fleece fresh faces that show up at a rock shows, she lets you know she’s at least good at one thing.
A Lit Match
Rose (Shannon Nettesheim) enters Eddie’s world, and he quickly finds out she is fresh in more places than just the face. With her, his bladder repeatedly gets called to the carpet. Known to hide behind his tough guy personal, Eddie jellies before our eyes, slowly and sappily, at one point so disgustingly he nearly dry-heaves on himself. He reluctantly bares his soul to Rose, as bared on the pages of his crumpled up notebook, oh god, he’s a writer.
When the Glass Shatters
Enjoyable aspects of Another Tale of Eddie present themselves readily, starting with the scenic design. Small details go duly noted. Manufactured grime coats all of the furnishings, vintage beer cans line the sink and counter tops, a working Zenith tube-t.v. fires up occasionally (the pitch of the transistor jars any pre-milennial memory). In one scene, Eddie opens the cupboards and it’s filled with toasters, a nice reference for recent Alchemist regulars.
Nettensheim maintains an enigmatic disposition throughout her portrayal of Rose, adding much needed dimension to the play’s structure. Eddie stands as a relatively straight-forward character. Sapiro reads this role quite transparently leaving some scenes to approach death on set, although he mostly revives them at the last possible opportunity. In the shoes of Izzy, April Paul provides valuable pace and character consistency of a lower-Eastside punk, from Brooklyn. Jacob Woelfel (Hilly Crystal), Annie Lipski (Sindy), Nathan Sawtelle (Bruce) and Liz Witford make cameos, and most likely will appear in upcoming New York Stories episodes.
Another Tale of Eddie basically acts like that person that does annoying things to the point that you are almost irked, then somehow salvages your outlook with a catchy idea, or lets say a story. This time the Alchemist delivers a mental nipple twister, which in some strange way was kind of gratifying.
Another Tale of Eddie runs tomorrow night March 21, and next weekend on the March 26, 27 and closing Saturday March 28. All shows start promptly at 7:30p.