Arena Players Repertory Theater Company's presentation of "Toyer" by Gardner McKay is a haunting story that shows the determination and great strength of the mind. Under the exciting direction of Frederic De Feis and a cast of only two, this new production will be presented as a limited engagement at the Vanderbilt Carriage House Theater until December 4.
Jacqueline Muro plays Maude, a smart career woman, who innocently lets Peter (Evan Donnellan), a seemingly nice, clean-cut man help her with her car. Afterwards she lets him into her apartment to make a call. Danger quickly arises as we discover Peter is the vindictive "toyer" terrorizing the neighborhood women. The frightening events that follow bring consolation to not only to Maude, but also to the community.
Throughout the course of the play, Jacqueline Muro and Evan Donnellan prove they are a great match. Muro masterfully portrayed a hysterical woman who was put in a difficult and unexpected situation. Donnellan was also wonderful as he had many facets to his character from the sweet guy-next-door to an intense, intimidating monster. They worked off each other well especially during all the action in the second act. The emotion, frustration, and the crazy mind games were superbly acted as if these two actors had been in many productions together.
In this intimate theater, this cast expertly makes the real world fall away as they bring you deeper in to their conversations, their world. The whole two act play takes place in Maude Christophers' apartment with a simple yet effective set up on the small stage. Sitting so close to the action makes you feel Peter's intimidation and Maude's fear that much more.
Despite its uncomfortable subject matter, this production of Toyer with its hardworking cast and crew effectively connects with its audience and brings a brutal reality to the stage.
"Toyer" is presented by Arena Players Repertory Theater Company at the Vanderbilt Carriage House Theater in Centerport, NY. Frederic De Feis, Producer & Director; Anthony Farina, Stage Manager; Fred Sprauer, Designer/Technician; Al Davis, Lighting; Lois Lockwood, Costumes; Damon, Inc., Sound Design. Playing now through December 4th.
Photo by Frederic De Feis