“ As I was exiting the theatre into the lobby last night, the man ahead of me spied director Joe lorenzo and said one word to him. It was the same word I had in my head -- "beautiful."
To begin with, using actual interviews with Newtown residents as dialogue is a wonderful idea of Ulloa's. It captures the combination of genuine anguish and stoicism New Englanders would and did express after something as unthinkable as the Sandy Hook shootings.
The simple staging and casting of really solid actors playing numerous characters each works so well! The performances are grounded and real.
I think the biggest success of this piece is that while it's heart-wrenching, it's not maudlin. The obvious takeaway from the real-life tragedy is that we have a problem with shootings in this country. Emotionally unstable outcasts (or people who somehow feel like outcasts) have access to assault weapons, and innocents pay the price.
But this show doesn't clobber the audience with politics. It tells a powerful story in the first person from people who lived it, and we're gently invited to hear them tell it.
I had my tissues ready, and found I needed them a few times -- in one case because I was moved by the sweetness of the sense of community among the Newtown residents, and sometimes when the characters, particularly one played so organically by Anthony Marquez, fought their own tears as they told the story.
Above The Curve does great work, and this is more proof of that. ”