Get Cultured — May 2, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Meet “Wink,” The Boy That Will Steal Your Heart

by

Wink3_RickStockwell

“Wink” by Neil Koenigsberg is a character study of two people broken by the past and finding what they long for in an uncertain future. Directed by Ron Beverly, this production sets to explore the importance of labels and understanding in a world in which understanding is not as important as how you can make others understand. A mixture of beautiful moments bogged down by old school tropes that sneak in, this production threads between the sublime and cliche too often to reach the levels it could.

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The story follows a questioning teenager named Wink (Joshua De Jesus) and the journey he goes through once he meets down-in-his-luck actor Dario Villanova (Joe Maruzzo). The relationship they develop and the cracks they attempt to fill in each other to once again be complete is the backbone of the play, and it is an emotionally rewarding one. With the rest of the ensemble giving as strong performances as the leads, the theme that the play gets into are current and important. Wink is an amazing character, one of the most poignant ones I’ve seen this year. But this modern feel, this urgency is contrasted by the stylization of the play itself, which feels outdated.

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“Wink” moves exactly as a play should move, from scene to scene, transition to transition. This is a play in which the story carries the load, as the production aspects are average. There’s no sense of innovation beyond the character. It’s like they knew the character was good enough to hold our attention, so they didn’t try to create a meaningful theatrical experience, which made me wonder why this wasn’t a film instead. I wondered that because it felt like it wanted to be one so badly — like being a theatrical experience was the second choice over film. Some of the aspects used to create the feeling of cinematic bliss ended up coming off as sloppy. And that’s a shame, because if it trusted its theatrical roots, the play could have been something special.

“Wink” is playing at the Theater for The New City until May 7. There’s so much to love, gorgeous moments to have, and too many characters to enjoy to miss it.

Out of 4 stars:

two-and-a-half-stars

Twisted Talk: What’s the last theater production you’ve seen? How often do you go to the theater? Discuss below!

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