References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot at WHAT
By: Susan Blood, May 30, 2012
Michael A. Karchmer - The cast of 'References to Salvador Dali' get hot and heavy with sexually frustrated magical realism on the WHAT stage. The production runs Wednesdays to Sundays through June 9.
References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater is a visually beautiful production, with a large dose of head-messing thrown in. It has the spirit, color and outline of a Dali painting—but luckily, no one's limbs are made of kebab skewers.
The playwright, Jose Rivera, was influenced by Gabriel García Márquez, both references to writers who make me hot. There's a healthy dose of magical realism thrown in, tempered by a very non-magical relationship.
Perhaps that is what's really wrong with the two main characters: the magic has gone out of their marriage (and has died completely in Benito). Or is Gabriela worried that the magic is gone, and the whole thing is an anxiety dream on auto-repeat?
I think I'm over-thinking.
Love in the fun house
References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot
Written by Jose Rivera
Directed by Dan Lombardo
2357 Route 6, Wellfleet
Performances Wednesday - Sunday through June 9 @ 8 PM
Tickets: $35 for adults, $10 for students, 5% discount for seniors
Gabriela (Aniela Gonzalez) and Benito (Robert Najarian) are a young couple living in Barstow, California. More accurately, Gabriela is living in Barstow, while Benito is away on Army assignment. In her loneliness, Gabriela develops a deep relationship with the Moon (also played by Najarian), and a more awkward relationship with a 14 year-old boy (Michael J. Knowlton).
Her one ally is her cat (Milourdes Augustin) – who has a steamy and nearly fatal fling with a coyote (Jesse Tolbert) in scene one.
Something about Gabriela and Benito is reflected in the torrid dynamic of house cat and coyote, but I haven't sorted out how or what yet. It's that kind of play: your brain keeps going back and working on it. It's like butter on a cat's paws.
Gabriela says the universe is a reflection of a reflection, and that everything we see is a hall of mirrors.
I feel the same way about the play. Trying to discern the dream from the reality – or the reflection from the reflection of the reflection – will make your head explode.
Kudos to the crew
The set design by Nick Dorr is beautiful and smooth, both in its lines and in its easy changes from interior to exterior scenes. Lighting by John Malinowski gives the set a certain Salvador Dali glow, complete with shifting colors and a vivid desert sky.
The music – including a tune played by the Moon on violin – was composed by sound designer Nathan Leigh (whose musical The Consequences opens later this month). You can tell when Leigh is working on a production: you walk into the theater and wonder what song is playing and why you haven't heard it before.
The WHAT production was directed by Dan Lombardo, who balances the play's sadness and comedy like the subject of a Dali painting, walking on kebab skewers.