By Patrick Christiano
The world premiere engagement of a new play by Nick Starr, One Thousand Blinks, opened January 17, 2012 at 59E59 Theaters. The drama directed by Malinda Sorci is billed as a Sci-Fi thriller, but comes off as a thought provoking enigma instead. Starr is a prolific writer, who was an Artist in Residence at The Center Theatre Group in Los Angles, and his new play raises provocative issues about survival and control.
The story follows a young man Morgan (Mark Cajigao), who is so anxious to break his pattern of underachievement that he takes a job teaching English in a far away country leaving his girlfriend Jenny (Estelle Bajou) in America. On his arrival in this unknown place he discovers the class he was going to teach has
been canceled because of a bus accident with the students. Instead of teaching English, he has been given a job translating an obscure medical textbook for Dr. Luk (Rachel Cornish) a driven task master, who doesn’t believe in sleep and expects him to work exhausting hours day and night to complete the work in the briefest possible time frame. The book written in an obscure language Morgan doesn’t understand becomes an obsession with him as he discovers the intoxicating truth of how stimulating and productive over excelling can be. Held in virtual isolation, he becomes fixed on the translation and the real purpose of the textbook putting him in what apparently becomes a dangerous situation.
Meanwhile back at home his girl friend is suffering from a sleep disorder where she becomes another person in her sleep and can’t remember anything she says or does. Her previous boyfriend, Bram (Drew Hirshfield), shows up knowing Morgan is far away becoming the catalyst for a series of unexpected events and a conflict between Jenny and Morgan that drives them both to disturbing actions.
The 85 minute one act evening, as directed by Malinda Sorci. comes off rather literal without the underlying torment that might allow the evening to be more surprising and spine tingling. Rachel Cornish is a standout as Dr. Luk endowing the doctor with an eerie robot like quality that is most effective. She is also quite attractive making her overbearing determination to get her way all the more frightening. The rest of the talented cast is serviceable to the text, but the acting doesn’t go deep enough or far enough to bring the story to life.
One Thousand Blinks is playing for a limited engagement at 59E59 Theaters, between Park and Madison Avenues until January 29, 2012. The performance schedule is Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8:30 pm and Sunday at 3:30 pm. For tickets call Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or got two www.59e59.org