“I’m an alien to New York." “I fail and continue to fail every day.” These are the words spoken in "Halfway Through the Story of Our Life", a play written, directed, and produced by Alexandra Zelman-Doring presented by Throes Theater. Set in modern day, the play paints a beautiful yet painful picture of three woman trying to discover who they are, and who they are meant to be. Their stories are set to music by three composers (Ana Milosavljevic, Jiri Kaderabek and Mahir Cetiz), played by Naum Goldenstein on clarinet, Marc Uys on violin, and Mahir Cetiz on piano. While sharing their experiences, each woman sings, dances and speaks in one or more languages. The actors use their real names and according to Zelman-Doring, about 20 percent of the play is drawn from their real life experiences.
The first of the three women to come onto stage is Benedita Pereira, otherwise known as Benny. Pereira gives a sensual performance of a young actor trying to make it in the throes of New York City. She uses her native language, Portuguese, for a good portion of her raw performance.
Emma Meltzer is the second actor to tell the audience (or, as they call us, “friends”) her story. Standing out for her bluesy voice, Meltzer nails the comedic satire of the script as she explains how she struggles with her “WASPy parent brain,” always getting in the way of her judgment.
Alexandra Zelman-Doring, the last to perform, is still and lifeless in the background for most of the play as her counterparts take center stage, and when it is her turn she explains in anger and bitterness that she is “clogged”. Yet she shines as she dances and sings.
"Halfway Through the Story of Our Life" poses questions that often echo in the consciousness of young people everywhere. With a limited set and background it moves swiftly like a dream, yet it is as real as the people on stage.
Through June 8 at Access Theater.