Post No Bills Sags Under Oversized Emotions

Post No Bills opens when Reyna (Audrey Esparza)—a penniless, feisty runaway, bent on musical stardom—arrives at Port Authority, confident she'll strike fame (if only she can scrounge up some lunch). She befriends two seasoned subway performers—Sal (John-Martin Green), blind and genial, his sign advertising "Curse Me Out: $1"; and Esteban (Teddy Cañez), once a famous Tex-Mex crooner, now nursing a mysterious wound. Rechristened "Lady Rey," she becomes their protégée, pounding out rhythms on a bucket-turned-drum.

Reyna sees infinite possibilities before her—it's too bad the play itself has such limited horizons, its sweet premise sagging beneath a tired love-triangle plot and oversize emotions. When an interloper vies for Reyna's affections, he prompts a series of cascading confessions and tearful showdowns, old agonies fueling new angst.

Raul Abrego's thoughtful set—a blue construction-site wall, warning trespassers to "Post No Bills"—periodically parts in the center, revealing Esteban's messy Brooklyn hovel. Beer bottles and bedclothes spill everywhere. As the walls close, then open, the set becomes a physical corollary for the play's relentless baring of emotional interiors.

Details

Post No Bills
By Mando Alvarado
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
224 Waverly Place, 212-868-4444

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Esteban and Reyna belt out Post's mournfully charming soundtrack. But the play's most evocative moment is its quietest, when Reyna plays a song for Esteban on her iPod. He listens, she watches intently—and for one understated moment, something goes unrevealed.

 
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