by Holli Harms
Crystal Skillman’s one person play Open, starring the luminously fierce Megan Hill and directed by the wonderful Jessi D. Hill (no relation), addresses the power of imagination and love.
We open with a single magician on stage. There is nothing else. Only lights and sound with their own magic enhancing the performer. Each of the magic tricks we must imagine. And It is imperative that we imagine them because “we are in a crisis and in a crisis you need magic.” And we, the audience, are needed because “Only true magic can be done with the beliefs of others.” Our imaginations are needed to save a life. But will it be enough?
This is the story of The Magician and her love Jenny who met at The Strand when a book accidentally pushed through to the other side reveals both a face and a possibility and blossoms into the real thing. But the Magician is cautious, careful, fearful of this love and how it is perceived in the world. Especially after the election of Trump when fear for being different rises to the top and the LGBTQ community is once again threatened. Or was the previous acceptance only an illusion?
This play is music. It is that song you love. You know that song when every note of it is perfect, every instrument chosen is the correct choice, and the voice of the singer is the kind that lifts you to another realm. It is a poem, a love letter to us, crafted by an artist.
Crystals are stones of cleansing, of strength, and awareness. They are used to heal.
Crystal Skillman does just that with her words. She has the words for us when we do not, and she is indeed a skilled craftsman, a healer. Skillman as a writer articulates love – the falling and the pain, and parenting and its emotional knotted truth with such available access. She mixes the world of magic, with the world of the living, all with precision and grace.
Jessi D Hill is such a gifted director and choreographer. She beguiles her actors to become dancers, magicians, clowns, mimes, musical instruments of storytelling. And she makes it all look like a walk in the park.
I cannot say enough about this play. I can only say this, go see this show. See how a collaboration of women tell stories.
And The Tank. The Tank supports yearly over a thousand artists. Giving them free rehearsal and performance space. They support so many and with such an open heart. But they cannot do it alone. If you believe in the magic of theatre give to The Tank HERE.
$25 General Admission/$35 Premium Reserved Seating
Open Written by Crystal Skillman, Directed by Jessi D. Hill, Featuring Megan Hill
Lighting and Scenic Design: Sarah Johnston, Sound Design: Emma Wilk
Costume Design: Becky Bodurtha
The Tank 312 West 36th Street.
Post-show audience talkbacks after these performances: Thursday, June 13th, Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21