Salon Peer-to-Peer: Pie Lessons
Pie Lessons: The 2019 N.Y. International Fringe Festival, Metropolitan Playhouse & Day of the Giants LLC
Reviewed by Barbara Kahn
By Carrie Robbins
Directed by Jonathan Cerullo
Featuring Alyssa Emily Marvin, Robert Meskin and Jenne Vath
Set, costumes and graphics by Robbins
Light, sound and projection design by Chris Stratis
Music arranged by Shelley Gartner
Yesterday I saw Pie Lessons, a powerful play by Carrie Robbins performed by three amazing actors. Before the house opened, we were treated to a helping of apple or pumpkin pie, Pie service by Olga Kalanz, Master Baker Chris Stratis. My choice of pumpkin was a good one. Yummy. So we were all in a good mood when the performance began. I already knew Jenne Vath is an amazing actor, and her portrayal of a Jewish mother in the 1950's was in fact amazing. She gradually revealed the intelligent and anxious wife and mother who finds ways to satisfy her own need for a creative outlet. The eleven-year-old Alyssa Emily Marvin gave an astonishing and nuanced performance as her daughter. Robert Meksin was able to show us a very difficult father whose traumatic history was only hinted at, but gave us all we needed as background. We saw a man haunted by his past, who constantly struggled to stay in the present, anchored by a loving daughter and wife. No matter how I felt for the daughter who was hovered over by a father desperate to protect his child, I never questioned his love. His wife ran interference when things seemed on the verge of resistance. The direction by Jonathan Cerullo was excellent. He kept the balance among the three characters and staged the scene changes effectively, bringing the drama to us with music and humor. The scenes of actually making the desserts that fit each scene were detailed and engrossing. I believe the play is at least somewhat autobiographical, and I was surprised to see Robbins’ background is as a successful, award-winning theater designer, with perhaps only this play to her credit. I hope it gets a longer run and that it does not remain her only play for very long.
Photo Credit: Richard Termine
Pie Lessons. The 2019 N.Y. International Fringe Festival, Metropolitan Playhouse & Day of the Giants LLC. Closed November 3, 2019.
Barbara Kahn is a playwright, director and actor with annual productions of her plays at Theater for the New City in New York City. She coaches actors and playwrights and offers fundraising for the arts seminars. www.barbara-kahn.com