Monday, May 18, 2009

A Bronx Tale...

Alas, Christmas 2008 ended with a bang-up matinee performance of A Bronx Tale written by and starring Chazz Palminteri, Saturday, at the Scranton Cultural Center.

If you haven't seen the movie, in a nutshell this is the coming of age story of Calogero 'C' Anello, growing up in the 1960s in an Italian-American neighborhood near the corner of East 187th Street and Belmont Avenue in the Bronx.

C's is befriended by the local don Sonny (Sonny had five fingers, but he only used three.) and his world begins to be colored and pulled by the gravity of many new and interesting characters but at the same time resisted by the pull of his own father Lorenzo who serves as his moral compass during this tumultuous period. In the course of the story, C finds himself faced with all sorts of funny situations like The Test to see if a girl can be trusted, and at times serious grown-up situations like crime and racism, that try his burgeoning passage into adulthood and make him question right and wrong.

Mr. Palminteri plays all the characters, perhaps three main and 12 minor characters, and effortlessly slips between each in conversation and physicality. In addition the character of C provides ongoing narration that puts you into his mind and feelings as he grows up.

The play was without intermission and lasted about 95 minutes and made me appreciate the craft of acting and what is possible with a good story and great acting.

This was a rare and tour de force performance people, the likes of which I've never seen before. If you get a chance to see it and unfortunately this is only playing a small number of cities, by all means do so--you will not go away disappointed.

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