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“Destroying David” a new offering by a new theater company

"Destroying David" poster
Courtesy of Harbinger Theatre

2022, thus far, has been an interesting year for local theater. The titles of many of the plays that have been offered can be described as off-beat, and for the most part, relatively unknown to the average person.

For instance, Schenectady Civic Players recently offered “Marjorie Prime”. Ghent Playhouse produced “Fun Home” and Troy Foundry Theater just closed an original work focusing on sound, “Broken Record and Other Oddities.” Earlier in the year, Capital Rep produced, “The Fly,” a play about African-Americans in the Army Airforce during World War II.

Indeed, a new theater troupe, Harbinger Theatre, has recently been created for the sole purpose of offering new, regional premieres that contain morally complex themes.

Harbinger has already presented “The Christians,” a work about a popular Evangelist who one day tells his flock that he no longer believes in Hell.

In February they produced “Hurricane Diane”, a work that linked materialism, ecology and sexual ambiguity.

The next play, offered in early March, was “Admissions,” presented in collaboration with Circle Theatre in Averill Park. It was about a privileged young man denied entrance to an Ivy League college because his spot was filled by a minority individual due to racial politics.

Not only has Harbinger been challenging, they are also prolific. This week it opens “Destroying David,” another play that promises to cause thoughtful discussion. The play written by Jason Odell Williams makes the fourth play they have produced in four months.

“Destroying David” might be the most subtle and thoughtful of Harbinger’s productions. It deals with an unnamed art restorer, who just lost his husband to heart cancer. Angry at the world because of his loss, he is determined to lash out and hurt as many people as possible. He decides to do this by destroying Michelangelo’s beautiful sculpture “David”. The loss of one of the world’s most beautiful creations is, he feels, a way of having the world feel his pain.

As a member of the team that cleans and cares for the art work he has access. Because the statue has an inherent flaw, a crack at David’s ankles, he shares a bitterness towards the Italian government who has delayed protecting the priceless piece of art. Not only does this give him a rational excuse to commit an irrational act, it offers the playwright an opportunity to discuss the healing capabilities of art and the pain of living in a flawed world.

To make a further statement on the power of art, “Destroying David” is presented at Opalka Gallery on the Albany campus of Russell Sage College. It will be offered amidst the immersive exhibit of “Judith Braun: My Pleasure”. It features large, graphic paintings, wall-drawings and sculptures.

The play is performed with Patrick White, the founder of Harbinger Theatre, as the art restorer. Chris Foster, who has collaborated in nearly 40 productions with White, plays several characters who appear throughout the under 90-minute production. It is directed by Amy Hausknecht.

“Destroying David” plays Saturday, April 9-10, 12-13 and 15-16. For ticket information go to actingclasswithpatrickwhite.net.

Bob Goepfert is theater reviewer for the Troy Record.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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