THE MESSENGER Begins 12/13 at Roy Arias Stages
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by BWW News Desk
Jonas Productions presents THE MESSENGER, an original drama by Paul Kodiak previewing at Roy Arias Stages on Thursday, December 13 prior to Opening on Friday December 14 for a three week run. Dante Giammarco directs.
Taking place in real time, The Messenger chronicles the final hour of a condemned man’s life. A visible clock is ticking as Jimmy, a death row inmate, is visited by Father Keating, the prison chaplain, to hear his final confession. A prison guard taunts Jimmy by announcing the passing of time at 15 minutes intervals, heightening the tension as Father Keating entreats Jimmy to open up about the crime that brought him to these final moments. But Jimmy refrains from speaking until he asks Keating to share his last meal, seemingly putting him through a sort of test and then turning on him. Yet despite Jimmy’s unpredictable behaviour, Keating realizes that the condemned man desperately to open up to him. Perhaps he will but not until Keating obliges him by revealing his own shameful secret.
Playwright Paul Kodiak states that his motives for writing The Messenger were neither political nor religious but rather to use death row as the ultimate endgame for two troubled and complex men, each of whom struggles for redemption in the face of despair. A former graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Art, he did graduate studies in playwriting at Hunter College. His play My Brother’s Keeper made final selection at the prestigious O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference. An invited playwright member of the Actor’s Studio and member of the Dramatists Guild, his plays have been presented at venues around New York and in Pennsylvania where he resides. The Messenger has been staged before, but this NY production is a tightly honed version. It won the award for Best One Act Drama at the Shawnee Playhouse in Pennsylvania and more recently praised as ”a gripping performance piece with an amazing cast”.
Director Dante Giammarco is an Equity actor who also plays the role of Father Keating. As the founder of Jonah Productions he previously mounted New York productions of Sea Marks andRussian Strip. An actor who’s performed in countless Shakespearean plays, he’s also portrayed Brando in a New York production of Brando, Marc in Art, Galileo in Galileo, Will Kidder in Young Man from Atlanta, Goldberg in Pinter’s The Birthday Party and Benny in the Philadelphia Company’s Getting Out. Regionally he’s directed productions of The Odd Couple,Accommodations, The Public Eye and As You Like It at Delaware’s Arden Theatre.
Joining Dante Giammarco in the cast are film and stage actors J Domenic DeMuro and James Caceres. Peter De Maio is serving as Associate Director.
The Messenger previews on Thursday, December 13 before opening on Friday, December 14 at the Roy Arias Stages (300 West 43rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues). The performance schedule is as follows: Thurs. Dec. 13 thru Sat. Dec. 15, Thurs. Dec. 20 thru Sat. Dec. 22 and Thurs. Dec. 27 thru Sat. Dec. 29 at 8PM with 2PM matinees on Sat. Dec. 15, 22 & 29 and Sun. Dec. 16, 23 & 30. All tickets are $18. For reservations and information call Smart Tix at (212) 868-4444.