Ordinary Days: Love letters from the streets of New York

The cast of Ordinary Days.
The cast of Ordinary Days.
Image courtesy Nautilus Music-Theater

At Monday evening's Ivey Awards, Nautilus Music-Theater's Ordinary Days got a moment in the spotlight as the number "Fine" was performed.

The audience at the State Theatre was bigger than could fit into Nautilus's tiny 40-seat home during the entire run of the show, and hopefully some of those in attendance Monday night will travel out to Lowertown to take in the production.

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Gwon's songs (the dialogue is limited to the occasional set-up line for the next tune) build a vibrant, funny, and eventually moving portrait of four lives trying to make sense out of life and love in New York City. 

We have Warren (Max Wojtanowicz), a dreaming, young, and struggling artist looking for his way. He finds the master's thesis notes of Deb (Jill Anna Ponasik), whose search for meaning has led her, rather unhappily, to New York.

The second pair are Jason (Doug Scholz-Carlson) and Claire (Kersten Rodau), who have dated for about a year, and have decided to move in together. The tension between their personalties, along with some long hidden trauma, threaten to cut down their relationship before it really can get started.

The four actors use the music and songs as a starting point for their characters, then fully inhabit them with subtle grace notes that round them out and bring them to life.

Though the pairs don't interact, they occasional cross paths, be it at an art museum or in the play's emotional and heartfelt final scene. And though it is often played for humor, there is some darkness lurking at the heart of the piece, especially in the final quarter of the show when long-buried secrets finally come out.

While Gwon is mostly interested in the inner lives and conflicts of the characters, the very nature of New York sprouts up from time to time. The tension and difficulty of life in the big city nip at the characters, and several of them attempt to make an escape only to be drawn back in by the intangibles, and the person they can't seem to get out of their mind.


Ordinary Days
Through Oct. 6
308 Prince St., suite 190, St. Paul
For tickets and more information, call 651.298.9913 or visit online.
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