Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: New Orleans Soul

By Michael Block

Claire Christine Sargenti transports the audience right into the French Quarter in her smoky solo drama Interludes: A New (Orleans) Play. In a city fond of the dead, the spirit on stage very much alive. And so is Sargenti's story. Intertwining the denizens of New Orleans, Interludes is sensual and seductive. From musicians to preachers, Sargenti portrays the passionate people with big easiness. She allows her story to unravel slowly. It's not until quite late that the connections truly come to light. It's when the connections are made that new life is breathed into Interludes. Even if it means dropping subtle hints earlier, rewarding the audience is essential. Helping the audience to feel like their in on the piece is beneficial in the long run. As a performer, Sargenti lives in subtleties. With the number of characters she tackles, had there not been costume assistance, they may have blended together. Moving forward, finding a bit more differentiation will be greatly advantageous.
The pulse of Interludes: A New (Orleans) Play is the live band that accompanies Sargenti. It’s a brilliant addition, setting the piece apart from the rest. Led by composer and drummer Darrell Smith, the Interludes Jazz Orchestra is astonishing. If you closed your eyes, you may have believed that you were partying on Bourbon Street. The sound was pure New Orleans soul.
New Orleans is an inspiring city. Many writers have paid homage to it and there is a reason for it. Claire Christine Sargenti has something special on her hands. She’s a smart author with a knack for character.