Marta Mondelli & Cristina Lippolis; Credit: Nicholas Biagetti

Marta Mondelli & Cristina Lippolis; Credit: Nicholas Biagetti

“The Window” had great characters, but left me wondering what the point of the play was. By the end, I was having difficulty piecing together the arc of the story and how the personalities of the show were affected.  This was unfortunate as the play had such a pleasant start.

We meet Eva (Cristina Lippolis) staring longingly out the window of her apartment and on to the neighboring windows of her building. Lippolis is a striking beauty, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina”, appropriate, since the setting of the piece is New York City, 1954. Eva is in the midst of testing different soda brands for Sun Soda when her Aunt Nora (Marta Mondelli) bustles in. Apparently, Eva was supposed to be getting married, but the wedding was called off and as a distraction she signed up to be a taste tester. Aunt Nora was there to keep Eva company and get her mind off of her ex, Spencer (whom we never meet).

Nora disappears at night, stumbling back to the apartment the next morning. When Eva is left alone she hears a blood curdling scream and thinks she is witness to a murder, which Nora dismisses as a fantasy. And, in fact, is a fantasy? There never seems to be any action surrounding the scream other than to dismiss it and then never fully explain what it was. Eva gets frazzled, worrying about her future and the crime scene she can’t solve when she meets Bill (Scott Freeman) Nora’s lover. Eva, forgetting the mysterious scream, puts together the mystery of her Aunt’s nightly disappearances and feels betrayed and angry.

In a not-quite-explosive-enough argument Eva, Nora and Bill fight about what it means to be important in another person’s life. I wanted a massive change, a bigger reveal than the one we get when the fight gets really hot. Eva is naive and stays so, even after the argument. Nora is frustrated with her marriage, but sticks with it, and Bill stalks out, deciding not to be with Nora anymore, but would probably go on and find another woman similar. And, I’m left wondering why any of these characters existed in the first place when all they do is continue to be themselves seemingly unchanged. Was that the point?

Banter can be fun and quirky, the actors seem very comfortable with each other. I enjoyed a speech by Nora as she explained how a rotten Banana is not all bad when the bruises can be so sweet  (which is a metaphor for the production, really). The scenic design by Nicholas Biagetti and Pedro Marnoto is beautiful. There was such a good start, and I wish there was more to walk away with, a nugget of thought.  I, however, struggled to find meaning or high stakes in this play and was disappointed not to be able to do so.

The Window – By Marta Mondelli; Directed by Shira-Lee Shalit

WITH: Cristina Lippolis (Eva), Marta Mondelli (Nora), Scott Freeman (Bill),

Scenic Design by Nicholas Biagetti and Pedro Marnoto; Costumes by Rebekka Fellah; Lighting by Haejin Han, Sound and Music by Andy Cohen; Production Stage Manager, Haejin Han. Presented by Teatro Italiano Network. Playing at the Cherry Lane Theatre located at 38 Commerce Street, NY, NY 10014. Playing Now through January 26th. Tickets are $21.