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Hurricane Party

A modern, drug-filled Southern Gothic "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" set during a destructive storm both inside and out.

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Kevin Kane in a scene from the Collective NY production of David Thigpen’s “Hurricane Party” (Photo credit: Austin Donohue)

[avatar user=”Joel Benjamin” size=”96″ align=”left” ] Joel Benjamin, Critic[/avatar]Try to imagine Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? situated in the deep South, populated by working class whites and blacks.  Stir in a destructive hurricane and you have David Thigpen’s Hurricane Party.  (It’s a coincidence that Hurricane Party coincides with Hurricane Florence wreaking havoc on the Carolinas.)

The intellectual level of Hurricane’s characters may not be as high as George, Martha, Nick and Honey’s.  Nevertheless they reveal their inner psychological turmoil, secret fears, secret yearnings and sense of isolation with equal intensity.  Thigpen’s astutely observed dialogue and Maria Dizzia’s vivid whirlwind direction lift Hurricane from foul-mouthed melodrama to passionate character study.

Kevin Kane and Sayra Player in a scene from the Collective NY production of David Thigpen’s “Hurricane Party” (Photo credit: Austin Donohue)

In the dim light of late afternoon, Macon, a strong and strong-willed blonde (personified body and soul by Sayra Player) and Dana, well-built and smarter than he  cares to admit (Kevin Kane, deftly catching all the character’s layers,) are having sex.  Trouble is they are married to other people:  Macon to loud, gregarious, good ole boy Todd (Michael Abbott Jr., somehow managing to make this super macho guy likeable), and Dana to the seemingly girlish and delicate Caroline (Booker Garrett, playing her dissolution well).

From outside this microcosm of lust and philandering, Tabby, a perky, pansexual clerk at a local shop (Lacy Marie Meyer, making debauchery attractive) and her quietly intelligent friend Jade (Toni Lachelle Pollitt, playing the bored observer with great skill), are invited to the fiesta of the title and become the unwitting catalysts for an evening of caustic revelations, old passions surfacing, and violence, both human and environmental.

Booker Garrett, Michael Abbott Jr. and Kevin Kane in a scene from the Collective NY production of David Thigpen’s “Hurricane Party” (Photo credit: Austin Donohue)

Drinking and sniffing cocaine, the six play truth-or-dare type games which quickly descend into head games and, finally, bloodshed just as the hurricane hits.

Frank J. Oliva’s set—wooden frames indicating walls and shabby, well-used furniture—and Louise Ingalls Sturges’ trashy/macho outfits are fine.

Eric Glauber’s sound design made the wind and rain a seventh character and Miriam Nilofa Crowe’s lighting is wonderfully atmospheric.

Hurricane Party (extended through October 21, 2018)

Collective NY

Cherry Lane Theatre Studio Stage, 18 Commerce Street, Greenwich Village, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 212-352-3101 or 866-811-4111 or visit

Running time:  90 minutes without an intermission

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About Joel Benjamin (561 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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