ALONE (2012)

Martin Denton,

“For me, the creation of art is a miracle. I don't know how someone sits down with a sketchpad and draws forth a portrait or landscape from a pencil in his hand; or how someone else sits down at a keyboard and causes beautiful music to emanate when she touches the keys. What we call talent — or sometimes genius — is ineffable and awesome and deeply mysterious.

Edward Elefterion — a theater artist endowed with prodigious amounts of talent — explores this notion in his new play, Alone. It's inspired by August Strindberg, and though I'm far from an expert on the subject, it's clear that the play is filled with vignettes and allusions to the great man's life and art. It takes place during August's middle age, after his wife has left him and it seems as though his creative power has abandoned him as well. He's returned to the city of his birth, taken up residence in a boarding house, and spends his days searching for inspiration. By the end of the play, he's found it, and appears ready to enter a new phase of productivity.

For me, it is not the specifics of August's story that resonate, though; it's the agony he endures to get back on track that really moves me. The play's title reveals it all: August is no recluse, but the journey back to himself—any such journey, for any of us—has to be undertaken on his own. Alone gives us the "real" August that people encounter and meet, also the "realer" one who travels through time and imagination to relive happier days with his wife and daughter, make the acquaintance of a composer who seems eerily like himself a few decades earlier, and even converse about art and philosophy with Edgar Allen Poe, who died in the same year that Strindberg was born. Poe tells August, "Don’t confuse reality with what’s real." Therein lies the key to Alone.

Elefterion reinforces the play's ideas with the inclusion of August's Landlady as the other main character in the piece. She's a fan, but she's in almost every way his opposite: they recite "The Raven" together, but she's ultimately grounded despite her love of poetic fancy while he of course is able to soar in ways she never can. She's embodied by actress Alyssa Simon in an extraordinarily warm, generous, pragmatic performance, one that matches Timothy McCown Reynolds' high-voltage soul-baring portrayal of the writer. Just five other actors complete the ensemble, all delivering expert work: Annalisa Ledson is luminous and convincing as both August's remembered wife and young daughter, Adam Griffith is wondrously shape-shifting as a veteran and the young composer who is August's time-traveling doppelganger, Tracy Shar is memorable as a formidable if enigmatic beggar woman who seems to have a history with August, and Josh Sponberg and Korey Emslie are the play's Kurogos (counterparts to the Kurokos of Kabuki theater, working props and lights in full view of the audience).

Alone is magisterially directed by Elefterion in his trademark minimalist manner, where props and set pieces are used sparingly and seem to materialize magically out of the blackness that almost always envelops the playing area. Designers Pei-Chi Su (costumes) and Ryan Metzler (lights) have collaborated with Elefterion (set and sound) to create a world for this play that defines it with real exactitude.

In the end, this team of remarkable artists chart the fearsome journey that one must take—alone—to arrive at that exhilarating place—also alone—where true invention emerges. It's a thrilling trip.”

The Frankenstein Series (2010-2011)

"Director Edward Elefterion and author Stanton Wood always create excellent work...The lighting, sounds, and set are simple (that’s far too unfair a word), precise and, frankly perfect...Once again Elefterion, known for his minimalist style — which relies on an essential confidence in his actors — hits the mark every time...Memorable and riveting...[The cast] strikes the perfect balance of commitment and humor."

“All of the actors turn in strong performances…intense and focused, impassioned and chilling…”

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“Fabulously Horrific…all members of the ensemble were excellent…Knight was captivating…Rabbit Hole Ensemble presents a fantastic and unique interpretation of Mary Shelley’s classic.” 

"Thought-provoking...visually striking...The ensemble cast works together beautifully."

The Happiest Medium

“When it starts in the dark, crackling terrifyingly to life…a little chill of anticipation runs up your spine. You may not know what to expect from this story – but your racing heart is telling you all you need to know about how it will end.”

"Visceral, terrifying, and heart-racing...Emily Hartford is a powerful actress, deeply moving...Jocelyn O'Neil is superb...Elyse Knight is as compelling as she was [in Part One]...Arthur Aulisi handles all [his] roles masterfully, and with grace...Nikki Dillon and Rachel Pearl are amazingly effective...Personally, I can't wait to see it all again."

Washington Square News

“Excellently executed…Every aspect of this play, from the cast to the costumes to the set, draws a unique, fitting parallel to the original, making the audience feel like it is sitting in some barren wasteland listening to a destroyed doctor relive her nightmare.”

New York Theatre Review

“An unearthly balance of beauty and menace, Rabbit Hole Ensemble's work makes a reincarnation of Shelley's classic entirely their own. It's well worth waiting for their next project, be it new or reanimated.”

Before Your Very Eyes (2010)

Nytheatre, Martin Denton, May 20, 2010

"The play proceeds swiftly and often harrowingly under Elefterion's taut direction; design elements, as is Rabbit Hole's custom, are minimal but used extremely well.

"Because the play deals with events that are very familiar to most New Yorkers (maybe too familiar), reactions to it are likely to be visceral and personal; I know mine was...I was very impressed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the company as they explored the play with audience members."


Cultural Capitol, Will Kenton, May 24, 2010

"...a well-made and thought provoking play, well performed by talented actors. It’s worth seeing with a friend, either a New Yorker or someone visiting from out of town."


The Happiest Medium, Karen Tortora-Lee, May 28, 2010

"...may be the perfect way to tell a 9/11 story...the play is a great voice for those who are still confused by the events."

TheaterOnline, Heather Violanti, May 21, 2010

"...a beautiful play, given a taut, powerful displays the incredible talent of Rabbit Hole Ensemble and provides a provocative meditation on September 11.”

Candide Americana (2009)

Backstage, Leonard Jacobs, August 24, 2009

“Critic’s Pick: Stanton Wood's updating of Voltaire's novella is trenchant, canny, a series of lacerations directed toward the American right wing. He has a perfect partner in director Edward Elefterion, whose minimalist aesthetic makes you forget that there's no scenery, just Sarah Reeb's quick-witted props, Jamie Roderick's facile lighting, and Michael Tester's guffaw-worthy costumes. One of the best possible versions of Candide I’ve seen.”

TimeOut NY, Joshua Rothkopf, August 23, 2009

“**** [FOUR STARS] It truly must be the best of all possible Fringe Festival worlds when a Voltaire update is completely in sync with the scrappy, resourceful vibe of the annual showcase. The athletic Rabbit Hole Ensemble bounds out onto a barren stage, alternating characters with a mix of reckless abandon and stop-on-a-dime precision.  The cast inspires laughs and love in equal measure.”

Nytheatre, Martin Denton, August 19, 2009

“Rabbit Hole Ensemble's smart new play Candide Americana brings Voltaire's famous satire entirely up to date.  Wood's script is deliciously clever [and] Edward Elefterion's direction is absolutely splendid.  His trademark minimalism is used to terrific advantage here, with a cast of seven telling the tale with extraordinary energy and skill but very little in the way of props or costumes or lighting effects. The cast does excellent work. Candide Americana is enormously entertaining. It makes the classic work accessible and contemporary and reminds us of its wisdom.”

Broadway World, Duncan Pflaster, August 23, 2009

“A genius idea, executed wonderfully and hilariously.  The cast, under the direction of Edward Elefterion, is great, working as a unified whole, then stepping out to play various roles. It's a hilarious and thoughtful play, well worth a look.”

Theatermania, Andy Propst, August 27, 2009

“Stanton Wood makes some of the most tragic headlines of the past decade absurdly laughable as he gives Voltaire's Candide a 21st-century makeover in the brazen and often hilariously satisfying Candide Americana…Americana manages to make human misery merry.”

Offoffonline, Mitch Montgomery, August 19, 2009

“The expertly staged, solidly entertaining FringeNYC entry Candide Americana represents the best of all possible adaptations.  Edward Elefterion’s crafty staging utilizes the performers to the maximum extent possible by relying on them to communicate place through blocking and ambient sound...The performers tackle multiple roles with plenty of charm.”

Sean Williams, Artist/Producer, Gideon Productions

“Everyone should go see this show. It's just fantastic. The cast is without fault, with each of them embracing or distorting the cliche's expected of their situations. The actors don't stand out the way it usually happens at the Fringe, the entire ensemble is together creating the entire piece, it's really a wonderfully crafted show. The direction is meticulous, it's a complete vision, from each individual moment to the overall arc of the piece.

The writing, though, steals the show.

I just loved this play. Totally theatrical, but still completely organic. Perfectly performed and costumed for the Fringe, proving a kind of flexibility that so many companies fail to embrace. I'm so happy that I got a chance to see this, and even more happy to know it's out there being done. Please go see it.”

Shadow of Himself (2009)

Nominated for an NYIT Award

Outstanding Choreography/Movement, Edward Elefterion

The New York Times, Neil Genzlinger, January 23, 2009

“[For those] who enjoy something experimentally interesting: Neal Bell has written an intriguing stage version of ‘Gilgamesh,’ and Rabbit Hole Ensemble gives it an equally intriguing production: aggressively minimalist, with the five cast members providing the sound effects and even, sometimes, the lighting."

The Village Voice, Eli Epstein-Deutsch, January 30, 2009

“Rabbit Hole Ensemble and Obie Award–winning playwright Neal Bell prove a potent combination… Rabbit Hole’s highly physical, expressive style, executed with minimal tech, benefits from Bell’s muscular language, and the result feels urgent and riveting under Edward Elefterion’s fast-paced direction.  [Shadow of Himself] elicits the magic and terror of a still-animistic world only recently emerged into the light of civilization.  Bottom line, Shadow should not be missed…”, Carly Dahlen, January 2009

Shadow of Himself “showcases innovative technical approaches and captivating performances. The production features impressive acting by the five cast members. Sparse costumes, limited props, human-made sound effects and a nearly nonexistent set counterbalance the epic nature of the story. Perhaps no other approach to the stagecraft could allow audiences to comprehend such a massive, fantastical story.”, Duncan Pflaster, January 13, 2009

“A highly effective piece of theatre…An action-packed and funny meditation on masculinity which has a specifically modern and relatable feel.  The five performers are terrific.  A fascinating and stimulating piece—I recommend it.”

Big Thick Rod (2008), Michael Criscuolo, August 11, 2008

"...a uniformly excellent giving one of the best ensemble performances in town right now and you should go see them do it."

"Director Edward Elefterion employs his trademark minimalist style to great effect...", Sandy MacDonald, August 13, 2008

"You don't have to be a nymphomaniac woodland sprite wed to an uptight lawyer to figure out that the marriage contract can constitute a raw deal. But it's a hilarious premise, which writer Stanton Wood, director Edward Elefterion, and the highly talented minimalists of the Rabbit Hole Ensemble make the most of in Big Thick Rod."

“Laugh yourself silly!”

Time Out, Noelle Stout, August 2008

“Four Stars — Critic’s Pick!”

L Magazine, August 18, 2008

“The uniformly strong cast…directed by award-winner Edward Elefterion, unabashedly and insightfully assesses the cost of love and freedom: how much of one is worth the other.”

A Rope in the Abyss (2008)

The Daily News, Joyce Shelby, March 18, 2008

“Imaginative, fast-paced…”, “Pick of the Week”, RL Nesvet, April 3, 2008

“Haunting…tautly, unpretentiously, and empathetically constructed…constantly intrigues and engages…”

“Each of the stories is a miniature drama, with lightly sketched characters filled in vividly by the passionate, technically precise acting of the four-actor ensemble.”

“Playwright and director Edward Elefterion…works magic again with clear characterization, painterly tableaux, and brisk pacing.”, Lisa del Rosso, April 4, 2008

“Playwright and director Edward Elefterion has the gift of dialogue at his agile fingertips…A Rope in the Abyss beautifully illustrates the lack of control we have over what we remember and what we want to forget.”

“Oliver Sacks would appreciate A Rope in the Abyss.”

Washington Square News, Natalie Zutter, April 11, 2008

“Unforgettable…haunting…a sometimes distressing but ultimately gorgeous study of human identity.”

The Night of Nosferatu (2007) 

Winner of 2 NYIT Awards 

Outstanding Director, Edward Elefterion

Outstanding Lighting, Kevin Hardy

Nominated for 4 additional NYIT Awards

Outstanding Ensemble

Outstanding Production of a Play

Outstanding Full-length Play

Outstanding Featured-Actress, Duncan Pflaster, October 12, 2007

“Rabbit Hole Ensemble has atmosphere in spades...Wood's adaptation is ingenious...

The simplicity works like a dream, in fact like a nightmare...The spookiest effects are those we can imagine for ourselves...a grand and spine-tingling production.”, Jennifer Rathbone, September 29, 2007

Rabbit Hole Ensemble “excels in [their] unique method of storytelling.  The ensemble cast proffers a resonant performance through their manipulation of space and sound.  Stanton Wood's adaptation The Night of Nosferatu, directed by the brilliantly innovative Edward Elefterion, deals with that duality [of Bram Stoker's novel] masterfully.”, RL Nesvet, September 28, 2007

“The actors create the play's world with mime, manual and oral sound effects, and the creepy amber glare of hand-held lights...With mise-en-scene like this, Wood, Elefterion, and the cast make powerful dark magic. Rush to see it before the sun rises and it disappears.”, J. Jordan, September 28, 2007

“This well-rounded, game-for-anything cast [is] spectacular, and so full of life I stopped thinking about who was lead or supporting and relished the actors' use of their bodies and the space.... Director Elefterion has a talent for letting the story and the actors speak for themselves.  If you want to be entertained, hear a good story, and have fun, then head to the WorkShop Theatre to see The Night of Nosferatu.”

Barnstable Patriot, John Watters, October 22, 2007

“The most impressive element of this production is the flawless flow of action. The show is very much a well-oiled group effort displaying the tightness that comes only from proper rehearsal. It makes you think you’re watching a theatrical symphony with each actor’s instrument equally harmonious.”

Provincetown Banner, Melora B. North, October 25, 2007

“The Night of Nosferatu is no light selection, in fact, it’s a heavy dish of ghoul that sends chills up the spine to tingle and titillate the imagination, which in the case of this production is a key ingredient.”

Cape Cod Times, Kathi, Scrizzi Driscoll, October 21, 2007

“The Night of Nosferatu is a sterling example of what top-notch acting, tense direction, a creative script and low-tech theatrical tricks like streamers of red ribbon for spurting blood can accomplish. Just ask the woman in the front row who screamed Friday night when the ‘blood’ headed in her direction.”

Nosferatu: The Morning of My Death (2007), Martin Denton, July 28, 2007

"One of the breakout hits of this year's Midtown International Theatre Festival... The cast of six work near miracles to portray dozens of characters...The company finds the essence of what's really scary in this legend, and communicates it boldly and deftly."                                         , RL Nesvet, July 28, 2007

"...a worthy successor to Murnau's film and an original response to it...The ensemble [creates an] effect that couldn't be done better with technology...Elefterion is clearly a director to keep watching.", Bryne Harrison, July 20, 2007                                                                                                                                 "exciting and elegant...beautiful and haunting...the actors are the center of attention and use all their skills to draw the audience into their tale...”

“What makes this an especially moving production is director Edward Elefterion's embrace of simplicity and style. There are minimal sets, moody lighting full of shadow, simple costumes that don't indicate a particular period, few props, and most intriguing, the cast's creation of subtle sound effects to add depth to the various scenes.  Stanton Wood has created an excellent adaptation of the Dracula legend which has been brought to life by Elefterion and the exceptional cast."                                                   

The Land of the Undead (2007)

Backstage, Ron Cohen, March 14, 2007

“Notable for its effective use of story-theatre techniques...under the seamless direction of Edward Elefterion, [the production] proceeds with minimal props, less scenery, and total seriousness."

Nosferatu (2006)

Benjamin A. Hodges, Editor in Chief, Theatre World Publications

“Dear Rabbit Hole...
Just wanted you to know that I thoroughly enjoyed your production,
seeing it as I did last night. If you ever need an endorsement, please do not hesitate to ask, as I found your show one of the best I've ever seen Off-Off-Broadway. The direction was incredibly exciting, the performances spot-on, and I especially thought it was one of the best lit shows I've ever seen (and I've probably seen 500-1000 Bdwy, and even more Off and Off-Broadway show).. Kudos and keep up the good work- any way I can help publicize or endorse your show let me know!”

The Siblings (2006)

Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director, Boston Playwrights Theatre, February 11, 2006

"...modernized and played through a glass darkly, The Siblings paints a dangerous world where benign images of family and trust transform into terror. With a deceptively simple text and virtually no accoutrements, Mr. Elefterion and his gifted ensemble evoke a nightmarish forest of narcissism and greed. It's a harrowing experience and, ultimately, shocking.", Matt Schicker, July 18, 2006

“Rabbit Hole Ensemble's mission commits the theater group to a ‘distinctly minimalist aesthetic that focuses on space, audience, and the produce a uniquely direct and candid experience.’ Their current production of The Siblings proves they aren't kidding around. This is a seriously stripped-down production which is effective in its presentation and refreshing in its eschewal of anything not absolutely essential to telling its story…”

“The Siblings is simply a good story, told clearly by skilled actors, revealing all the rich facets and layers of complex, disturbing human drama contained in it. This revelation provides more thrills than any million-dollar tech-spectacular ever could, and it's worthy of your support.”, Sean Michael O’Donnell, July 18, 2006

“Daily and Broomell perfectly capture Hansel and Gretel’s innocence, and their disturbing evolution from passivity to violence.”, Mallory Jensen, July 23, 2006

“Rabbit Hole Ensemble's minimalist presentation, particularly the stark black and white lighting, works wonders in creating an appropriately harsh psychological atmosphere.”

“The acting is superb.”

“The Siblings raises some very uncomfortable questions and offers no answers, leaving you with plenty of food for thought and inspiration for your own dark dreams.”, Jill Jichetti, July 18, 2006

“The production enchants with minimal artifice or technical assistance.”

Backstage, Victor Gluck, July 18, 2006

“The play's spookiness comes from the emptiness of the setting, which mirrors the scarcity in the characters' lives.”, Matthew Murray, July 18, 2006

“The five hard-edged performers are so tightly choreographed and conducted that you know you're watching a fully conceived and flawlessly executed piece of theatre.”

The Transformation of Dr. Jekyll (2005 & FringeNYC 2006), George Tynan Crowley, August 11, 2006

“What is admirable and the staging and the clarity of its storytelling.  The cast and director Edward Elefterion show expertise in moving us all over the map with very very very little except their own commitment, a lot of mime, a kazoo, and two simple hand-held lights manipulated hither and yon by the nimble performers.”, Sean Michael O’Donnell, August 11, 2006

“Paul Daily captures Jekyll's inner turmoil, perfectly embodying his tortured journey into madness. Daily contorts his body, shades his voice, and displays the physical and emotional pain of the character's transformation. Amanda Broomell and Emily Hartford are excellent as Jekyll's many foils.”

“With minimal props and no set, Edward Elefterion's direction remains true to the company's ‘theater of essence’ approach. Under his guidance, the actors are the sole focus, and Broomell and Hartford voice the production's many sound effects with great success.”


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