EARLIER THIS SEASON:
WAIT UNTIL DARK – by Frederick Knott, Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher
“Director John Arthur Long builds suspense and deception with a well planned strategy…Gostkowski excels as the ruthless murderer…His withering stare and wild, wild outbursts are perfect for this production. Christina Elise Perry’s well blended combination of vulnerability, stubbornness and intelligence help add to the drama’s suspense… Irritatingpolice sergeant Carlino (David Rey) earns our dislike and our suspicions. It’s Mike (Paul Terkel) who demonstrates the greatest ambiguous emotions and confusing loyalties… Kudos to everyone behind the scenes.”
-Cliff Kasden, ‘A View From the Cliff’
“As blind Susan Hendrix, played by a radiant Christina Elise Perry… captures this once strong and sighted woman who now feels helpless.
Paul Terkel and Christina Perry have terrific chemistry
Gostkowski dazzles with his abilities. He is scary, funny, disturbing and disgusting all at once.”
-Kevin Zimmerman, Times Ledger
“The set is absolutely beautiful and realistic, from the rain dripping outside the window when the play opens to the props and set pieces on the stage. The refrigerator and stove are authentic and the lighting is clever and perfect and draws you in from the moment you enter. Production Design for WAIT UNTIL DARK is by Aaron Gonzalez.
Christina Elise Perry delivers. From the minute the play opens, you get the sense that this young woman is blind and vulnerable in unimaginable ways. There is no doubt that she is about to go on a journey that will test her and perhaps scar her forever. Perry is talented and focused and real in the part.
As the psychotic Roat, company founder, co-director and actor, Kirk Gostkowski, is a menace. His “Roat” is weird and at times funny in a scary, disturbing way. His final scenes are fun to watch. He is threatening from the start and if you don’t already know the story, there are moments that will surprise and shock you and give you an added jolt. Overall, every character carries his or her weight in terms of performance and has standout moments during the play, including Paul Terkel as Mike, Patrick Pizzolorusso as Sam Hendrix, David Rey as Carlino, Kelsey Bowens as Lisa. But I would not feel right if I didn’t point out one performance in particular: a special shout out goes to the young Schuyler Press who plays Gloria. She was spot-on perfect and does an outstanding job. This youngster has a future in acting.”
Roger Gonzalez- Local Theatre NY
THE PILLOWMAN – by Martin McDonagh
“Easily one of the BEST REVIVALS on the Off-Off-Broadway scene this year… A MASTERFUL PERFORMANCE by an indefatigable Kirk Gostkowski…the production is directed with CONCISE ASSURANCE by Greg Cicchino and acted with STARK FOCUS by the fine cast centered by Gostkowski’s SMASHING PERFORMANCE.. An EVILLY STRAIGHT-UP Deven Anderson…an equally effective Paul Terkel… and a KNOCKOUT turn by Kyle Kirkpatrick.”
“The police, played in a delightfully manic key by Deven Anderson and Paul Terkel. Gostkowski expertly manages the wide range of emotions Katurian runs through when it comes to his brother, from protector to accuser to ultimately savior-of-a-sort. Kyle Kirkpatrick beautifully captures the nuances… in an OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE. KUDOS… to director Greg Cicchino.”
- Times Ledger
“It’s not a light evening of theatre, but one hell of a thought provoking one. Whether you saw it when it was last on Broadway or not, you should head out to Long Island City and see this truly talented ensemble displaying spectacular performances. You may be uneasy watching it, but you won’t be disappointed.”
-The ArtsWire Weekly
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – by Dale Wasserman; Based on the novel by Ken Kesey
BRAVO!…We are left breathless from this intense and unforgiving indictment of once commonplace institutionalized brutality. Kirk Gostkowski and Leigh Anne West as bizarre sides of the same coin, are riveting and charismatic. Supporting players in the day room are flawless. Since every seat is just inches from the stage, the audience feels the intense pull of the actor’s emotions and their unfortunate circumstances. Kudos to the entire production and creative staff.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest soars to complex heights.
TALK RADIO by Eric Bogosian
NOMINATED FOR NEW YORK INNOVATION THEATRE AWARDS FOR OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY AND OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN (AARON GONZALEZ)
“A taut production… a gut spilling, stomach wrenching performance by the cast. Made me just about forget about Eric Bogosian and Liev Schreiber. Do yourself a favor and take the 7 train to Long Island City.”
- CBS Radio ; Jim Taylor
“This is the way theatre is supposed to be… Kirk Gostkowski’s Barry is electrifying…Director Greg Cicchino deserves high praise for presenting a brisk, exciting and raw evening of comedy and drama at the lovely Chain Theatre, an intimate space that allowed the audience to be thrust right into the action of the play with the actors, experiencing what they experience…Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to an evening of Talk Radio at The Chain Theatre and you will enjoy an engaging evening of indie theatre at its best, with stellar performances across the board.”
5 STAR REVIEW: “Riveting…There is nothing better than theatre that gives you ideas to mull over on the way home, and then when you get home, and then the next morning when you wake up. The actors that dispatch these ideas here do so with a talent as elegant as the arc of their story.”
“Champlain is played with unwavering focus…Gostkowski is up to the task, and remains in charge from start to finish. He smokes, drinks, sweats, swears and carries on multiple conversations seemingly simultaneously…Interestingly, it is the unseen callers who are among the most memorable personalities. A small group of actors provides the varied voices splendidly…Under the astute direction of Greg Cicchino, the play remains gripping throughout.”
“It’s wonderful watching Kirk Gostkowski work his magic. Rewarding and relevant. A fun ride!”
– Theatre is Easy
“A powerful revival! Variations Theatre Group is one of the very best off off Broadway companies around. Terrific! This is a well-directed and well-performed powerful, gritty play, depicting the levels of depravity to which men (and women) may descend. Not to be missed!”
A Seat on the Aisle
“Entertaining, unexpected and masterful! Immersive theatre!”
“The protagonist – Eddie – is played by the superbly talented Kirk Gostkowski. He would not be able to achieve his outstanding performance without the support of an impeccable ensemble. Rich Ferraioli’s direction is what allows these talents to shine because he uses every single inch of the stunning set to keep his actors always on the move. Ferraioli has choreographed a piece that flows with energy and clarity and, impossibly, considers every sightline to ensure full audience engagement.”
“This show at The Chain Theatre has not a single weak link!”
The Public Reviews
“The cast lives up to the demands of the script: Kirk Gostkowski’s Eddie lies at the center of this (sometimes self-inflicted) maelstrom, and often holds back with a dead-eyed coolness that erupts into concentric circles of furious self-absorption; his energy does not flag, and he does the heavy lifting of the piece with eager aplomb!”
New York Theatre Experience
“Wonderful! The costumes, lighting, props and music are all period specific, and help create an absolute immersive experience into the narcissistic, neutron bomb-fearing, drug-hazed melee that was the mid-1980s. The almost constant consumption of weed, dope and booze is literally right in your face, to the point that you almost get a contact high. Kirk Gostkowski as Eddie, Deven Anderson as Mickey, Brandon Scott Hughes as Phil, and Chris Harcum as Artie, do admirable jobs breathing life into their characters. Each actor finds balance between the vulnerability and the rage that motivates his character.”
Theatre Is Easy
“First rate ensemble!”
“Kirk Gostkowski is well-cast as Eddie, for while likable, he’s not afraid to embrace the awfulness of Eddie either. Deven Anderson is also a standout as Mickey, smooth and cold, with impeccable timing. Christina Elise Perry, Rachel Cora and Jacklyn Collier do strong work.”
A Work Unfinishing
“Eddie is played by a delightfully manic yet not-over-the-top Kirk Gostkowski. Gostkowski delivers a realistic performance that captures the essence of Eddie’s personal crisis with all its highs and lows. Eddie is confused, angry, hurt and depressed — sometimes all at once — and Gostkowski makes it all very believable. Brandon Scott Hughes also brings a sense of desperate urgency to lost soul Phil.”
“The production does a wonderful job capturing the caustic and bombastic feel of the 1980s and nights fueled by drugs and alcohol.”
“Those who have never seen this work done on stage should consider going the ‘extra mile’ to Long Island City and catching this rarely revived play. Playing the central character Eddie, Kirk Gostkowski delivers the right mix of callousness and vulnerability, blending each in equal proportion. R. Allen Babcock’s set and lighting convey the appropriate seediness of the digs nestled in Hollywood Hills. David Rabe’s play, set in a house in the Hollywood Hills ‘a little while ago’ is pertinent to today’s headlines. And it still speaks to the heart.”
Variations Theatre Group is embarking on the next step in our journey and opening our own theatre space in Long Island City;
The Chain Theatre
Converting a space into a performance venue is hard work and our labor of love. By donating to The Chain Theatre, you are contributing to the countless artists that will be bringing their passion and talent to Long Island City for years to come. Actors, directors, playwrights, stage managers, technicians, and entire theatre companies will have a place to call home. The funding of this project will assist in the renovation of the space, acquiring equipment, and developing the upcoming season.