"In the eye of the hurricane there is quiet,*" and as Hurricane Sandy approaches NYC, the quiet is a 15-year-old girl named Candi who two years earlier suffered some kind of trauma that left her unable to move, speak, or breathe on her own. She's lovingly cared for by single mother Evelyn, who lives with her Papi in an apartment on Pike Street, tucked under the Manhattan Bridge. On this day, a day like every other that turns out to be extraordinary, they're awaiting the return of Evelyn's brother Manny, a war hero coming home with a silver star and a slight case of PTSD. The family works out some issues involving the death of their mother some years ago, and Papi's own traumatic return from a different war many years ago. Nothing much happens, and everything happens, as we get to know this quiet and special girl, her family, and their neighbors.
Of course a one-person show is never really just that, and Nilaja is aided in her storytelling by the lighting design (by Tyler Micoleau) which sets the tone for each scene, and particularly by the sound design (by Ron Russell, who also directs) which captures the sounds of the approaching storm, busy NYC life, and the hum of the TV in the background.
Nilaja is touring the country with Pike St., and Twin Cities theater-goers are lucky that she stopped in Minneapolis. Go see this beautiful, brilliant, funny, heart-breaking performance before she leaves town. It's a wonderful example of the art and beauty of theater and performance.
*Please indulge my many Hamilton quotes in the next few weeks, I just saw it for the 3rd time so it's on my mind even more than usual.
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.