Pike St. – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

With amazing skills and talents, playwright, storyteller and actor Nilaja Sun opens her heart and soul to present the tale of three generations of a Puerto Rican family in New York’s Lower East Side as a storm builds inside and outside their tenement apartment. By inhabiting all the members of her family and neighbors, with her flexible face, hand gestures, sound effects and vivid and vocal expressions, this gifted actor brings to life the people who live on ”Pike St.” on the Hartford Stage until Sunday, February 2.

In this amazing one woman show, Nilaja Sun introduces us to the matriarch of the family Evelyn who carefully balances her responsibilities learning her healing arts, continuing a tradition started by her mother and grandmother. She watches over her daughter Candace who was once a promising student with great ambitions until a medical incidence robbed her of speech and movement. Evelyn is also the caregiver of her father Poppy who abuses alcohol and women and of her brother a decorated Navy Seal who has returned from Afghanistan with PTSD.

She also has time to be kind to her elderly neighbor Mrs. Applebaum bringing her bialys from the bakery and batteries to help if the storm hits. Cheerfully, she holds tight to all she loves, protecting them with her faith and resilience. But will the hurricane raging outside be too much for this strong and remarkable woman?

With mind, body and spirit, this actor embodies more than a dozen different personas in this expansive solo piece that she wrote, sensitively directed by Ron Russellwho also serves as Sound Designer.

For tickets ($25 and up), call Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at https://www.hartfordstage.org/pike-st/. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and select Wednesday matinees at 2 p.m.

Let Nilaja Sun introduce you to a world poor in material possessions but rich in spirit and love.

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