Tales From the Tunnel
Tony Award winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia heads a terrific ensemble cast in this entertaining collection of stories based on interviews with riders and subway workers.
The play's brief vignettes encompass hook-ups, moments of random violence, race and class issues, and more. Some are sweetly sentimental, while others go for the jugular. The action is staged simply, but effectively, and moves at a quick pace.
Tony Award winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia is charming in his recurring role as a subway musician, and also endows the part with a quiet dignity. Vayu O'Donnell makes a strong impression in a number of his monologues, particularly as a homeless man who details the circumstances that led to his current -- and hopefully temporary -- state.
Geri Brown radiates presence, attitude, and a sense of humor, with a brash transit worker being her most noteworthy character. Brandon Jones does a great job in several parts, including that of a gay man who encounters a woman holding a large PFLAG sign following the Gay Pride parade, which reminds him of his own recently deceased mother.
Carla Corvo has a comic flair that enlivens a number of her roles, while Farah Bala is particularly moving as a South Asian woman living in a predominantly African-American neighborhood who relates a story that causes her to question her racial difference. Both of these performers have deepened their portrayals since the Fringe, which gives a greater deal of substance to the piece as a whole.
While many of the stories are monologues related directly to the audience, there are a number of sketches that utilize two or more of the performers simultaneously, and even a few sequences in which the whole cast takes part. Of these, the most memorable is the tale of the "Subway Six," a group of friends who broke the world's record for visiting every single subway stop in the least amount of time.