In the one-woman show Surface Transit that recently closed at P.S. 122, Sarah Jones took on the task of portraying eight distinct characters. Through one of those characters, she dealt with growing up as a child of a house shared by two families, one white, one black. The one-woman show The Syringa Tree began its Off-Broadway run at Playhouse 91 Sept. 6 and opens Sept. 14, has a similar format and themes.
In Syringa (pronounced with a hard "g"), writer-performer Pamela Gien takes on 28 roles spanning four generations of South Africa, from apartheid to freedom. The play, which premiered at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre Feb. 18, 1999, has undergone some revisions and is ready for its OB open-ended run. Matt Salinger is producing.
Larry Moss stays on as director from the ACT production and is aided by a team of designers that include Kenneth Foy on sets, William Ivey Long on costumes, Jason Kantrowitz on lights, and Tony Suraci on sound. Moss may sound familiar; he's the acting coach who helped Hilary Swank win her Academy Award for "Boys Don't Cry" and Michael Clarke Duncan's Oscar nominated performance in "The Green Mile."
Performances of Syringa play at Playhouse 91 (which housed the short-lived two week run of Straight-Jacket earlier this summer) located at 316 East 91 St. (between First and Second Ave.). For tickets call the box office at (212) 307-4100.
-- by Ernio Hernandez