While it is not messy by any means, Apartment Living, written by Boni B. Alvarez and produced at Skylight Theatre in conjunction with Playwrights Arena, is brilliant — yet confusing. The play is so cinematic that the hardworking stage crew has to work double-time on set changes, ingeniously created by set designer Alex Calle, to accommodate the staccato-timed scenes divided among two interior apartments, a store, as well as a spillover nether-space.
Regardless, this is very much a Covid story: the central couple, Alex (Gabriel Leyva) and Cassandra (Charrell Mack) are stuck in their apartment — together. What starts out as a love story soon turns into a shouting match, even as we learn that Gabriel’s sex drive powers him outside the walls of the apartment and into a dalliance with next door neighbor, Dixon (Andrew Russel), whose mother, Easter (Gigette Reyes), reminds us of the dangers of Covid when she lands in the hospital. Two other performers make up the ensemble: Geri-Nikole Love is Cassandra’s best friend and confidante, while Rachel Sorsa makes the most of a vignette as The White Lady.
As action unfolds, the characters lean heavily on social media for their interactions, which we see on-screen, thanks to David Murakami (Projection Design) with the help of Azra King-Abadi’s judicious lighting. Other elements – costuming (Mylette Nora), sound effects (John Zalewski,) and properties that magic whisk in and out of sight (thanks to Michael O’Hara) – create seamless ambiance.
Director Jon Lawrence Rivera directs with attention to the emotion depth and sympathy that propels the play outside of its limitations and allows us to become engrossed in the lives of these apartment dwellers.
APARTMENT LIVING runs Saturdays at 8:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm and Mondays at 7:30 pm through April 24, 2022 (No performances April 4 & 17). Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 ½ North Vermont, LA, 90027. Street parking or local pay lots. No late seating. Everyone must present proof of FULL VACCINATION against COVID-19 along with a government-issued photo ID in order to attend. Face masks are required to be worn at all times. Tickets $20 – $42. For reservations and information, go online at www.skylighttheatre.org