Review: In "Proud," Fair Fowl Fare Forth
Written by Judd Lear Silverman
Directed by Eric Parness
Co-presented by the 14Y Theater and Rising Sun Performance Company at the Theater at the 14th Street Y
344 E 14th St, Manhattan, NYC
February 10-26, 2023
|L to R: Rick Benson, Elliot Colby, and Duane Chivon Ferguson. Photo by David Anthony Wayne Anderson.|
Rick Benson, Paulina “pau” Tobar.
Photo by David Anthony Wayne Anderson.
The cleverly costumed actors playing the peacocks often integrate the birds' characteristic movement into their performances, while the human characters, media and officials (played by Lluvia Almanza, Ben Dworken, Orlando F. Rodriguez, and Jonathan Wong Frye) appear in white masks, bring about an inversion of the deindividualized way in which we tend to perceive non-human animals. As one might expect with talking peacocks, there is a good amount of humor, both character-specific and arising from their species and situation (they know, for example, that humans have taken their first steps to intergalactic travel but seem much less informed about cars); but neither does Proud shy away from affecting and meditative moments, without ever getting too dark. The play frames the beauty of the peacocks as a method of inspiration - though Tom's note that they are "unique" in their beauty is important, gesturing, perhaps, to the fact that beings with no "beauty," what scholar Donna Haraway would include under her capacious umbrella of "critters," are no less deserving of human consideration. Ultimately, Proud suggests that being itself is the message, an admirable, even beautiful proposition. As a production, Proud boasts enough plumage that even Harry would be impressed.
-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards