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Man in Snow

A prolific author turns a radio play into a spare, moving drama.

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Will Lyman and Sandra Shipley in a scene from “Man in Snow” (Photo credit: Gary Ng)

Will Lyman and Sandra Shipley in a scene from “Man in Snow” (Photo credit: Gary Ng)

[avatar user=”Joel Benjamin” size=”96″ align=”left” ] Joel Benjamin, Critic[/avatar]Prolific, record-setting author Israel Horovitz has turned his literate, moving radio drama Man in Snow into a stage play which arrived at the East Village landmark cultural institution La Mama in a neat, dreamy co-production of the Barefoot Theatre Company and Compagnia Horovitz-Paciotto.

Man in Snow begins and ends in tragedy.  In between there is an insightful, sometimes banal, study of a middle-aged man, David (an awesomely complex Will Lyman), his bumpy relationship with his wise wife, Franny (Sandra Shipley, whose even-handed façade hides deep emotions), his daughter Emily (lovely, bright Ashley Risteen) who harbors grudges that pore out at the most unfortunate times and his beloved son Joey whose death in a car accident opens the play.

On Jenna McFarland Lord’s formal, set—white, except for visions of the Aurora Borealis appearing behind what looks like curtained window—the characters wander about the space defined by Niluka Hotaling’s lighting and David Reiffel’s subtle, but definitive sound environment.

Paul O’Brien and Will Lyman in a scene from “Man in Snow” (Photo credit: Gary Ng)

Paul O’Brien and Will Lyman in a scene from “Man in Snow” (Photo credit: Gary Ng)

After the death of his son, Joey (Francisco Solorzano who caught the ethereal nature of his character), David’s life becomes more freewheeling and adventurous, leading him to become a mountain guide for camera-carrying Japanese tourists visiting Alaska, a momentous decision that leads directly to the shocking denouement.   The lightest moments in Man In Snow ironically deal with the young, Japanese honeymooners who want to conceive at the summit of the mountain.

David’s cousin, Connie (a steady, convincing Paul O’Brien), anchors the play, which tended to fly off in reverie, to reality.  Ninety-year-old visitor Mr. Takayama (Ron Nakahara, simple and touching) has his own losses to resolve and has several revealing conversations with David.

By the end of the play, directed with a cool, but telling hand by Mr. Horovitz, the complexity and wisdom of the ill-fated characters resonate deeply.

Deepening all the emotion and mood changes was the classic music and an original score by Julia Kent.

Man in Snow (through November 27, 2016)

La Mama in association with Barefoot Theatre Company and Compagnia Horovitz-Paciotto

La Mama First Floor Theatre, 66 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 646-430-5375 or 866-811-4111 or visit

Running time:  80 minutes, no intermission

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About Joel Benjamin (563 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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