Enchanting, exciting, and theatrical in movement and staging, PM Theater Company presents Mihail Sebastian’s A Star Without A Name at Theatre at St. Clements. This production is bursting with gusto and energy delivered in the form of a tightly talented ensemble. An ensemble led by the character The Teacher, the wonderfully compelling Stephen Ochsner, utilizes the vast St. Clements theatrical space to their advantage.
The story is of a small town where watching the trains come and go is so special and out of the ordinary that schoolchildren skip school to take in the passing of the locomotives. The clock in the center of town is never correct, but it need not be as the schedule of the trains is the only clock needed. The only trains to stop are the locals. The express flies by, paying no mind to the inhabitants of the small village in the middle of nowhere. It has a strict schedule and people of importance to get to their final destinations.
The local train this day brings a book for the Teacher. A book of great importance. A book that will clarify his startling discovery of a new star. A star he will then be able to personally name.
And on this day, the express stops. It stops in this small town for the first time in forever. A single passenger, Mona, (Anya Zicer) steps off the train and into the world of the Teacher, changing his life and altering his trajectory.
This is a story of the travails and courses of life. The stars remain in their heaven, Orion, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and the Big Dipper, because they remain on course. The trains remain on course. Once a life has created its trajectory, it cannot veer from that course no matter how hard it may want to, and it takes a movement of the heavens to alter that.
The show, two hours long with no intermission, is filled with constant surprises and swooping movement. With costumes by Luna Gomberg that are merry and captivating and a set by Jenna Shekhter that is in motion even when not moving, both add to the whimsy and delight of the production. Director Gera Sandler keeps it all up in the stars with performers and the musical creations happening on stage by Masha Vasilekvskaya until the play switches, and Gera must switch with it. Until lies are uncovered and derailed, and the stories and lives of our characters are set back on track, once again on their courses.
The cast fashions a tapestry of images, weaving together dance, sound, and delight. Stephen Ochsner, as Teacher, is making his New York debut as an actor, and we welcome him and look forward to what comes next.
PM Theater Company presents A Star Without A Name by Mihail Sebastian, Directed by Gera Sandler, translated by Ilya Eckstein.
With: Stephen Ochsner, Anya Zicer, Morris Carpenter, Ronit Asheri-Sandler, Dima Koan, Sergey Nagorny, Carlo Velardi, and Devons Duffin
Creative Team: Directed by Gera Sandler, Choreography by Tatyana Kot, Set Design by Jenna Shekhter, Sound Design and Music Performance by Masha Vasilekvskaya, Lighting Design by Nastia Blyakher and Andrei Kouznetsov, Costume Design by Luna Gomberg, Stage Manager Alina Kozlova, Set Construction Denis DolGIY, Set Art by Vitaly Umansky
Running Time: 2 hours with no intermission
Theatre at St. Clements 423 West 46th Street New York, NY 10036
Performances running through December 3rd
Tickets can be purchased HERE.
Readers may also enjoy reviews of The Tempest at the Players, War Words, Godzilla’s Prince at Pangea, Aging is Not a Fairy Tale, The Constant Wife, HEDY! The Life & Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, and the Oratorio for Living Things.