ANOTHER ‘CHILD’ IS BORN, AT TRTC

NO CHILD… playwright and star Nilaja Sun is scheduled to be in attendance at Two River Theater for one of this weekend’s performances of ONE CHILD, the original stage work created by a group of local high schoolers and inspired by her solo show. (Photo by T.C. Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

Just off the fringes of each year’s mainstage season schedule at Two River Theater Company, there exists a completely original, fully homegrown theatrical work that audiences will be able to see nowhere else — a project that falls under the umbrella title PlayBack.

When the invisible curtain goes up at Two River Theater’s Marion Huber “black box” space this weekend, the 10 area high school students who created, developed and rehearsed the full-length stage work known as One Child will be doing their thing at a performing arts center that’s regularly hosted Tony-lauded talents and other familiar figures of music, movies and TV. And, as is customary, audiences who’ve followed the PlayBack presentations will be able to claim “we knew them when” bragging rights.

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NO CHILD LEFT UNPORTRAYED AT TRTC

nilaja-sunPlaywright and actress Nilaja Sun arrives at Saturday’s opening night reception for ‘No Child,’ in which she gives a, high-energy, tour de force performance as 16 characters at a troubled Bronx High School. The single-actor drama, at Red Bank’s Two River Theater, runs through November 20. Ticket info here. (Click to enlarge)

‘A LOVE LETTER TO TEACHERS’ AT TRTC

nilajacarolroseggNilaja Sun stars as teacher, students, parents and faculty in NO CHILD…, the Obie winning one woman show going up at Two River Theater in Red Bank. (Photo by CAROL ROSEGG/ Berkeley Repertory Theater)

By TOM CHESEK

Regular followers of Two River Theater Company might find themselves a bit taken aback when they check out the new show inside the mainstage Rechnitz auditorium — where the 2011-2012 season recently opened with a Much Ado About Nothing that boasted a large cast of Broadway vets, a Tony-nominated director and a script by one Will Shakespeare.

When the play known as No Child… goes up in previews beginning Tuesday, theatergoers will look upon a spare set design populated by a single performer — a player who also happens to be the playwright.

Those who feel they’re not getting their money’s worth should know that No Child… is a critically acclaimed, Obie-winning hit that’s been seen by over a million ticketholders, with over 600 performances Off Broadway as well as major productions on both coasts and both sides of the Atlantic pond.

They should also know that No Child… is not a monologue but a full-fledged comedy-drama featuring some sixteen speaking parts — young and old, students and faculty, male and female, funny and not so — all of whom just happen to be played by native New Yorker Nilaja Sun. In fact, Ms. Sun, who won that 2007 Obie for her work here, originally scripted this play for a quartet of actors, and has been carrying the workload of four people ever since the play’s earliest performances.

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