I am Me – A Russian work comes alive on the streets of New York

20140928_141024I am Me is a one-act play written by renowned Russian playwright, Alexandra Chichkanova. Actress Nicole Kontolefa has turned the play into a performance piece, currently bringing it to the parks and streets of New York City. We saw a performance in Madison Square Park on a warm Fall day where a Thai festival was also going on. The play begins “So you’re walking….”. And that’s what we did. Ms.Kontolefa walked our group walked through the park, starting and stopping at various points. We the audience, everyone and everything around us were her props. Bystanders, of course, were clueless. We must have looked like tourists following a guide on an acid trip.
There is no story to this play. It is a roughly 50 minute monologue that brings you inside of the mind of Chichkanova, a woman seemingly deeply affected by her profound emotions and her feeling of anonymity. Kontolefa also seems to have been affected, she embodies the words so well that it took me a few minutes to realize that the play had begun and the words spoken were not her own. Her performance was upbeat and full of emotion in spite of the heat, noise and Thai festival.
I am Me is not a performance I’d recommend to everyone. And this play is different. But it’s worthwhile watching an artist perform her craft using nothing but a poetic piece of writing, her own self and the city as her stage. LAR

Tickets available at: www.youmeandyourfriend.com

Ticket price: $15 students, $18 adults

October 4th & 5th                    Central Park

October 11th  & 12th               Prospect Park

October 13th (Columbus Day) Brighton Beach (in Russian)

Performances at 2p & 4p


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