The Upper Room OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: James Matthew Daniel
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    May 22, 2015
    Closing:
    June 12, 2015

    Theater: New Ohio Theatre / 154 Christopher St, New York, New York, 10014

    Synopsis: 

    The Upper Room is a new play with original music inspired by the back-to-the-land movement. Set on an island way off the north coast of Maine, the last participants of a once thriving commune meet the sea. Anxious and restless, the quorum gathers around the table in their upper room to confront the rising water and certain members’ curious ailments. A darkly humorous consideration of spirituality and the dangers of our changing environment combines with a live mixed score, antique scuba suits and an overhead projector to create a brand new music theater event.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Upper Room

    In ‘The Upper Room,’ Homesteaders Living an Eco-Nightmare

    Laura Collins-Hughes

    May 29, 2015: Doom is more than lapping at the shores of their wooded sanctuary off the coast of Maine. The rising surf is claiming the island, and not so slowly either. New York has already been stricken. Venice, too. So things are not looking great for the little band of nouveau-agrarian homesteaders in “The Upper Room” at the New Ohio Theater. Written and directed by Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady, it’s a semi-fantastical play with a very dry sense of humor, always handy when dystopia threatens. But its most distinctive feature is a sonic glow as entrancing as a phosphorescent sea. Vocally complex, rich and consistently surprising, Catherine Brookman’s music elevates the play onto another plane. You might not expect a tune about dirt to wend its way inside you, but “Soil Song” does. If kelpies were real, you might think you’d finally heard one in the eerie “Wood + Water.” Ms. Brookman performs the music with the eight other actors, backed by Joe White on guitar. She plays Hannah, who as the play begins is missing and presumed dead — and, really, it’s quite a presumption, since all that’s turned up of her is her shoes.

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