​Falling Awake nominated for Most Outstanding New Play, The Midtown International Theatre Festival​

 

Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com 

     Davis' festival of plays presents a night of theatre busting with theatricality and heightened language, making the most of the talent of the actor's abilities to create realities and super realities. This is everything the theatre is supposed to be. 

 
Jan Ewing, Spectrum Cable-TV's Hi-Drama

     Matthew Ethan Davis’ “Faster Than Shadows” is an intimate, edgy play, a disturbing domestic dramedy, sharp and horrifying.

Queerly Festival

     Celebrated playwright, Matthew Ethan Davis' new play - as part of the Queerly Festival during Pride Month - SLEEP AT YOUR OWN RISK - is a laugh-out-loud comedy about a man terrified of falling asleep - because that's the one things he doesn't do when he sleeps! The play is a one-man journey suffering through what happens when he falls asleep - everything from hoping he doesn't kill his husband or walk out of the apartment naked! Two showings only: Jun 21 & 22 at the cutting edge venue, The Kraine.

Cabaret and theatre artist, Rick Skye, appears as a man who is terrified of falling asleep - in the city that never sleeps!

Originally produced & published by United Solo Festival, then enjoying a run at the Midtown International Theatre Festival and produced and published by The International New York Solo Festival, Sleep at Your Own Risk is part now part of the Queerly festival during Stonewall50.

Cheryl King, Artistic Director of Stage Left Studio 
     I saw one performance in the United Solo Festival this year, presented just one time, at 6 pm on Halloween. It was Sleep At Your Own Risk, a one-man comedy by Matthew Ethan Davis. He based it on his experiences when, as an adult, he began sleepwalking. It was performed by the very funny Brendan Wahlers, on a stage set with a couple of cubes and a chair, and it brought the tiny audience in the Studio Theater to raucous laughter over and over again – no small feat.  
     The audience is drawn in from the very beginning, in this well-paced and constructed story of the condition that practically destroyed the playwright’s life, and that of his live-in boyfriend, Dan. The author makes good use of popular music during the time of the play, weaving lyrics into the script in both subtle and comically obvious ways.
     The development of the story is organic. And Billy Mitchell, the director, lets the story rest in the capable hands of the actor and focused on the succinctness of the writing. We are drawn into the dangers created by a sleepwalker, given scientific details about the management of the condition, and the use of language was a consistent factor in the writing, revealing a playfulness in usage that makes me want to read more of this author’s work.

Theatre Is Easy, Ryan Emmons 
     Sleep at Your Own Risk gives insight into the potentially serious emotional repercussions of suffering from a severe sleep disorder…interesting hour of theatre due to this unconventional perspective”.
   

NY Theatre.com Martin Denton
     Pieces of a Playwright is a program of nine short plays by Matthew Ethan Davis
​. He is a playwright whose work I first encountered about a decade ago, in Gorilla Rep's Washington Square Dreams (published, it must be disclosed, in NYTE's Plays and Playwrights 2001). His contribution to that anthology of short plays inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was A Midlife's Dream, a mature, wistful drama about a middle-aged couple in a distressed marriage who look back at their younger selves on the night he proposed to her (at an outdoor performance of Midsummer in Washington Square Park). A Midlife's Dream is one of the nine plays in Pieces, re-thought by Davis the shift in perspective is very effective, highlighting what's lost as well as what's gained as time moves on. Davis ends this play, and virtually all the others in this collection, on a ray of hope; this plus his appreciation of the odd magic of existence is what most characterizes his work, in fact.

​     That magic—call it fantasy, or surrealism, or simply a wildly off-kilter and quirky sense of possibility—is especially important in three of the plays in Pieces. In the opener, Through the Floor, a young man on a date in a restaurant with a beautiful woman suddenly finds that he has disappeared under the table, victim, perhaps, of being so overwhelmed by the kiss he was just about to ask for. In Sinking, a kitchen sink appears in the middle of a couple's living room, with surprising results. And in Crossed Legged, two members of a yoga class suddenly discover that they are floating on a river on tiny leaves and that they have each shrunk to just three inches tall. Davis plays with time and space beautifully in these works, supplying vivid, image-filled language to allow his characters to articulate the inexplicable things that life and love have done to them.
     Highway 5.9 is the most realistic play here, dealing in a very forthright way with a problem facing too many of us, namely the accumulation of credit card debt in a bad economy. Love provides some answers. Even in the darker plays that comprise the second act, this is generally true: it figures importantly in Garden Street, a contemporary retelling of the story of Adam and Eve, and in a different way in Tracking, about two young people who were victims of abuse.

​     My favorite play in Pieces is probably Salty Tears, which is all about putting things in perspective. Sandy, a young Italian mapmaker, wants Christopher Columbus to reciprocate his feelings for him on the eve of his fateful voyage west. Columbus is able to imagine a world that is round rather than flat, but less ready to accept one where men can love men instead of women. Davis is at his wisest and funniest in this charmer.
      Pieces of a Playwright offers a nice introduction to the sweet and often profound world of Matthew Ethan Davis's plays, which we need to see more of on stage, the only place it can even really matter, in front of an audience.

Falling Awake, Expanded Arts Theatre Company, NYC
     “Matthew Ethan Davis’s Falling Awake uses a fine scalpel to humorously but soulfully probe how people cope with death’s mysteries. The romantic comedy gets right in your face with its witty dialogue-and leaves bite marks. The comedy that ensues is both touching and frantic, inducing chills and thrills as the women consult a bizarre gallery of mystics and blues divas about their visions and encounters….The results are hilarious” Theatremania.com

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Ticket To Eternity. nytheatre.com review Reviewed by Ryan Emmons  
     What if that aspiring actor you know and admire for pursuing his/her dreams is actually the happiest waiting tables?  Ticket 2 Eternity flips around the day-job cliché so that waiting tables is a spiritual calling for the main character, Dan, who is played by Laris Macario.  Dan’s pursuit of fame and acting glory is merely his halfway attempt to keep at bay his family and friends around him who somewhat desperately desire his fame.  From debt to the emptiness that they feel for having not pursued their own dreams, everyone has their reasons for Dan needing to be famous.  I won’t spoil the ending for you, but this absurdist comedy is a savory morsel that serves up plenty of food for thought.
     Matthew Ethan Davis (playwright) has written a play that is commendably theatrical and uses all of the most fun conventions of theatre to tell a story.  Dan’s memories come in and out, characters transform into other characters, and the world, though absurd, is specific.  The play begins with a reporter character (Jay Riveria) who is interviewing Dan for a front-page cover story.  The reporter exists outside of the style that the rest of the play is in, and I found the transitions into and out of his scenes one of the biggest challenges for Ticket 2 Eternity.  It sometimes felt like watching two different plays on parallel tracks; however, that did not seem to be the intention.
     Adyana de la Torre plays Dan’s mother, and the other female influences in his life, and brings in energy and skill to each scene she is in.  She sings, dances and acts with the ability to tell a story clearly, even when the ingredients of that story are unrealistic and dreamlike.  Brendan Wahlers plays opposite Torre as Dan’s father.  One of the highlights of the play for me was a scene between the father and Dan where the father is losing his soul because he has lost his dreams. The direction of the play is by Javier Perez-Karam who effectively portrays Dan’s obsession with serving food by having all of the props as kitchenware.  He also connects the people in Dan’s life in a way that suggests that they are all the same – although distinct characters, they all push him towards fame and they all take advantage or abuse him to make their point.    Ticket 2 Eternity brings up some great questions about purpose, spirituality, sexuality and how best to be true to yourself.  Are you living the life you want for you, or the life that others are hoping for you?  If that sounds like a menu that will satisfy your theatrical appetite then get your ticket now.


The Moon In the Man, Expanded Arts Theatre Company, NYC
     “Outstanding Writing. An enjoyable new play about blossoming gay love, full of snappy dialogue, that explores the development of love beyond sex and how a new relationship can change older ones. Playwright Matthew Ethan Davis ably balances the exploration of the intertwined journey each character takes in search of love. Fun and engaging, the playwright clearly knows his craft”.
Off-Off-Broadway Review.



A Little Class, The Long Wharf Theatre New Haven Advocate
     “Finely wrought, slick, nicely paced and stocked with talent.”



A Midlife’s Dream, Gorilla Repertory Company, NYC
     “Sublime and magical...an enchanting and heartwarming work of theatre.”
www.nytheatre.com



Super Romantic!, Group Repertory Company of North Hollywood
     “An adorable, polished little gem of a play that is warm and firm and fully packed. Funny, silly, heartwarming, trivial, romantic, ridiculous and unreally real in equal proportions”
The Messenger



© 2020 by Michael Kaufer