REVIEW: OBIE Award-winning New Ohio ICE Factory’s ‘Isla,’ ‘Acheron: The River of Tragedy’ and ‘Body Through Which the Dream Flows’
The OBIE-Award winning New Ohio ICE Factory is celebrating its 29th year and has been presenting a number of innovative works each summer that continue through August 20 live and in person at New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street in New York City. Virtual shows are available through August 27. Isla, Acheron: The River of Tragedy, and Body Through Which the Dream Flows are just a few of works presented during this annual festival. Click here for further details, how to stream, and for tickets.
Bikes fly, a plane takes off, and cars zoom as a world unfolds in interactive shadows. Produced by Hit the Lights Theatre, Isla is a documentary experience which combines shadow puppets, photos, animation, and live action to depict the warmth of Samantha Blaine’s homeland and the realities of the Cuban invasion she grew up in. Her unique and personal journey with her mother and two free spirited sisters integrates nature and song to demonstrate the realities of invasion, family, and how everything is connected. Featuring strong vocals as well as heartwarming and wistful performances by Samantha Blain, Marlena Mack, Tiffany Ortiz, Kristopher Dean, Mikayla Stanley, Claron Hayden, and Casey Scott Leach, Isla is a fascinating production that explores heartache, division, political turmoil, pollution, and how Blaine’s world was shaken by communism.
A car crash and a tense, mysterious encounter lead to much more than either of these characters bargained for at a river at the Mexican-US border. Directed by Martin Balmaceda, Spanish language production Acheron: The River of Tragedy serves up a wealth of twists and turns in this sordid and at times clever tale. This production has mature themes and is not for children.
A secretive and menacing presence, portrayed by Cinthia Perez Navarro, has entered the life of Leonardo, portrayed with strained intensity by Aline Lemus Bernal, a nattering, impulsive, and yet perpetual optimist who dreams of freedom as soon as that tumultuous river is crossed. However, there is a heavy price for that dream and neither are savory characters. Navarro’s searing intensity and cryptic glances make for some skittish moments while Bernal’s jaunty moves and brisk chatter never quite distract from Navarro’s distressing wrath. Cinthia Perez Navarro and Aline Lemus Bernal are also behind the show’s sharp choreography. Acheron: The River of Tragedy is a gritty tale about the darker side of humanity in the pursuit of happiness.
Body Through Which the Dreams Flows also explores what it takes to achieve a dream. In this case, it is achieving the Olympic dream as past footage of Olympic champions kick off the production. Part documentary and part stage performance, creator Soomi Kim and company takes a look at the incredible world of gymnastics and the corruption and tragedy that has seeped into the sport and the lives of young girls in training. What does it take to be a champion? Sometimes the price is too steep.
What is really compelling about Body Through Which Dreams Flow are the reenactments of some real life footage as well as Soomi Kim and Alexandra Beller’s beautiful choreography, the sheer athleticism, and interpretation from athletes Lucy Meola, Olivia Caraballoso, Madison Rodriguez, Shayna Wilson, Nora Avci, and Ai Clancy. Enhanced by Amanda Ringger’s haunting lighting, Body Through Which the Dream Flows is a stirring and eye opening production addressing the pressures and what seems like the impossible expectations from coaches while focusing on what past athletes have endured. It also delivers a powerful message on the importance of a child having the chance to be a child.
The New Ohio ICE Factory 2022 continues live and in person at the New Ohio Theatre through August 20 with virtual availability through August 27. Click here for more information and tickets.