The Paradox Players’ production of Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks by Richard Alfieri and directed by Matthew Burnett is a tender story of a youthful, 60ish woman, Lily Harrison, and a brash, 30ish man, Michael Minetti, who meet when Lily signs up for six dance lessons over a six-week period.
Michael, a former New York dancer, shows up at Lily’s high-rise condo in St. Petersburg, Florida, to teach her how to dance, but her fears and distrust clash with his desperation and anger and nearly end the relationship before the first lesson even begins. What unfolds is a tender, touching, and at times comedic tale of two people who reluctantly tear down walls and expose their emotional vulnerabilities. The walls do not come down easily however, and there is anger, humor, near-tragedy, and so much more.
Though this kind of play could deteriorate into a caricature, it does not. Cynthia Schiebel gives a rich, nuanced performance as Lily and Kirk Kelso’s portrayal of the desperate Michael, while at moments a bit over the top, is overall solid and engaging. Director Matthew Burnett delivers an entertaining, touching show. Staging and pace have a natural, never obtrusive quality, yet behind such a show is the hand of a skilled director. Other backstage and support personnel who deserve recognition include Technical Director Tom Martin, Costumer Phil Richardson, and Tech Crew member Monty Newton whose execution was flawless.
Performances are February 7 – 23, 2014 in Howson Hall Theatre at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin. For specific show times and dates go to http://www.paradoxplayers.org
About Paradox Players
Paradox Players originated in 1999, the minister of First UU Church of Austin assembled church members who had expressed an interest in drama. The original group functioned as a drama resource for the minister,creating what we call Sunday Shorts, presented in the sanctuary during Sunday services. In May 2000, we produced our initial Main Stage public production. Over the years since Paradox Players has grown significantly in audience size and reputation. We currently produce three plays a year, each production running three weekends.