Second Stage Theater
Tony Kiser Theater
January 13, 2018
|Photos courtesy of Second Stage Theater|
If you paint the town red, literally paint all the buildings in the town red, it will attract people and improve the economy for long-time residents. This is the premise for Greg Pierce’s new play Cardinal, now playing at Second Stage Theater. His characters are realistic and multi-layered. The conflicts that arise are compelling and engaging. Director Kate Whoriskey keeps the action moving, building the tension through to the very end.
Lydia Lensky (played by Anna Chlumsky) pitches a brilliant idea to Jeff Torm (played by Adam Pally), the Mayor of her hometown. She proposes that by painting all the downtown buildings red, cardinal actually, their dying upstate New York factory town will become a destination stop. It passes the city vote and gets the attention of a Chinese businessman who compromises the integrity of the plan. Townspeople are quickly displaced, and Lydia’s intention becomes questionable.
|The Cast of Cardinal|
Photo courtesy of Second Stage Theater
Adam Pally is charming and likeable as the gullible, young mayor who suffers from depression and obsessive behavior. Anna Chlumsky is a driving force as Lydia. The relationship they create is complex, intriguing, and believable. It propels the action of the play. Becky Ann Baker and Alex Hurt play two long-time, mother/son residents of the town. Their pacing and connectedness create the atmosphere of what life in this small town has been for generations. Their fears and resistance to change are truthful and clearly understood. Stephen Park and Eugene Young play the father/son business partners who cash in on the red city. They play their scenes with just the right balance of humor and determination.
The Second Stage Theater’s production of Cardinal is running at the Tony Kiser Theater through February 25. The play offers a unique glimpse at how consequences can get out to hand when making decision for the wrong reasons. It makes a strong statement about how our deepest fear often manifests itself when we choose to run from it.