The View From Here at Nautilus

At first, Timothy Huang's chamber musical is a comedy about a painfully naive aspiring author who has moved to New York City to find a home for his book. He's excited about his sixth-floor walkup, the bustle of the streets, and the musician who plays outside the door. He also gets quickly frustrated — and broke — when he finds that the agents and publishers aren't waiting with bated breath for his book. That's not what The View From Here is about, as the clues sprinkled throughout the first half of the one-act piece finally come to fruition near the end, when the Novelist's real story — and heartbreak — come to the fore. It's a turn that makes for a breathless final 20 minutes, as our character strips away the delicate lies he has told to himself and reveals the truth beneath. All of that puts a lot of pressure on the play's sole performer, Joel Liestman, as he has to run the gamut of emotions until the draining finale. Until this point, Liestman's performance has been like the play — light and naive, with a growing sense of despair and anger — until it explodes with the truth. During these moments, the raw emotion overruns the music, with the actor spitting and nearly screaming with the character's broken heart. Musicians Jerry Rubino (piano) and Jim Tenbensel (trumpet) add color to the character's struggle to find his soul.

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