THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS
Written by FENGAR GAEL
Directed by LORCA PERESS, MultiStages Artistic Director
November 8 -18, 2012
The Interart Theatre 500 W. 52nd Street, 2nd Fl.- off 10th Avenue, NYC
THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS is MultiStages New Works Contest Winner.
The play, a co-production between Interart Theatre
Development Series and MultiStages New Works Contests, is part of the
League of Professional Theatre Women’s "30 Plays Celebrate 30 Years Series".
Music Director BRUCE BAUMER
Choreographer THERESA BURNS
Projection Design JAN HARTLEY
Costume Design JESSA-RAYE COURT and MARK RICHARD CASWELL
Lighting Design JOYCE LIAO
Production Stage Manager JESSICA V. URTECHO
Alexis Lauren Kinney
THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS is a fantasy-based musical set on a fictional island off the coast of Argentina. The action begins with the birth of a child, Esperanza (Alexis Lauren Kinney), whose mother dies in childbirth. Esperanza is born with a heart defect considered so dangerous and fatal that the medical team takes bets regarding how many hours the child will live, even though the heart has been replaced with an artificial one. Leaving the child’s father, Don Hilardo (Pedro Carmo), with little hope, he immediately distances himself from the child, and the way young Esperanza is raised becomes both a social experiment and a commentary on modern life.
Don Hilardo tasks his lover, Maria (Veronica Cruz) with overseeing the care of Esperanza until she dies. Assuming the child has only days to live, Don Hilardo dictates that a world be created where the child is nurtured by wet nurses, hears only songs, sees only bright colors, and is kept away from all modern technology like televisions and computers. From a distance, and via computer, Don Hilardo monitors Esperanza’s heart, but he never visits his child, and over the next 15 years, she is raised by a team of mothers who painstakingly follow the laws enacted by Don Hilardo via his messenger, Maria. There is no vice allowed, walls are erected to keep the home secluded, and young Esperanza is never told, "no" or spoken to in normal tones at all. She grows into an infant-like teenager, but curiosity overtakes her, and eventually the world that she has been sheltered from is ventured into.
THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS is philosophical and at times full of gender politics. Maria is the mother who voices almost exclusively her dissertations on male-female affairs, and after years of pleading with Don Hilardo to see Esperanza, attempts to hinder the relationship once he is ready to re-enter his daughter’s life. The other mothers (Richarda Abrams, Jen Anaya, Debra Cardona, Lina Sarrello and Alexis Sweeney), aside from breastfeeding, which is a central activity in this piece, each represents an aspect of what is considered a traditionally female or motherly role. One gardens, one cooks, one sews, one does the laundry, one makes music.
Music and song are central to THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS, and the sound of the production is a key to the overall structure. Also key are the vibrant visuals. The colorful dress of the mothers, the projected images of paintings, rolling hills, and eventually the sparkly contrast of music videos and Hollywood are like another character in the play. Music and imagery provide a roadmap of the young life of Esperanza, devoid of outside influence, to the reintroduction of her father, who reverses his position on technology and changes his daughter’s life practically overnight when she is introduced to the internet, and with it, the world at large.
The second act of THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS feels very different than the first act, and in some ways, as the characters enter the modern world, even more fantastic than the first act. Overall, this is an interesting and enjoyable piece, best approached as fantasy and appreciated as a modern-day fairy tale.
- Kessa De Santis -