‘OR,’ and ‘PALOMINO’: Actors Playing Multiple Parts

In the last week or so, I got to see two really terrific plays that got me thinking about the beauty of actors playing multiple parts.

David Cale’s Palomino at Aurora Theatre is a standing ovation-worthy one-man show with an incredible actor playing everything from a Central Park carriage driver turned escort to several of his female clients. I found it a wondrous story and an even more incredible performance, with moments where Cale’s playing two characters having intimate conversations where I completely forgot I was only watching one actor.

Liz Duffy Adams’ Or, at Magic Theatre has three actors, two of whom also play multiple parts. The play is hilarious: brilliantly written with lovely dialogue, and directed to take advantage of the double and triple casting, with actors exiting as one character and entering as another in always surprising ways.

I’m a sucker for actors playing more than one role in a show. (As I guess anyone who saw my latest plays Three Little Words or Zombie Town knows.) There’s something exciting when an actor completely embodies a character so much that you can’t picture them as anyone else — and then seconds later they whip out a totally different character. And if you can see them transform from one to another right there onstage (hello, Ari in ZT), it’s magic.

(Disclosures: Too many to list. First, I was comp’d to Palomino. Then, I got in free to Or, because I’m on the Magic’s Lit Committee. Plus I’m in their Artists Lab. And I’ve had dinner with Liz. I think she even bought me gelato.)

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