Directed by Jennifer Tarver
Written by Sarah Kane
Through May 19th
Young Centre for the Performing Arts
Distillery District, 55 Mill St.

Reviewed by Robin Breon

Jennifer Tarver's brilliant production of Crave reminds you of what can be done in a small, black box studio space by a group of four actors who are limited in movement to a postage stamp portion of the stage and must rely solely on their own creative energy and their trust in one another to convey the demanding emotional complexity of the script more as choric characters than as actors in a play.

The playwright is clearly exorcising demons here and the range of that purgation includes the expression of profound insecurity, depression, emotional alienation, drug and sexual abuse, psychological isolation, love, hate, fear of death, paranoia -- the list goes on -- with the actors sometimes called upon to form one psyche and at other times to delineate the details of their own troubled lives. The non-linear verse (at times macaronic) sashays between short monologues and quick exchanges that bounce off the folded screen enclosure surrounding the actors like a rubber racquet ball.

At fifty-five minutes in length, it is really about all we can take with Michelle Monteith (as the actor known only as C) playing the youngest of the four who describes her abuse. Carlos Gonzalez-Vio (B) is a menacing addict and Hardee Lineham (A), the self-confessed aging pedophile (placed uncomfortably next to the young girl). It is left to Maria Ricossa (M) to express the yearning of motherhood, the longing for love that will never be requited and the hope of a relationship (or just closeness) with another human being.

The British playwright Sarah Kane, never did overcome her demons. Suffering from manic depression she checked herself into hospital in 1999 where she committed suicide by hanging. She was 28.

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