Divination

Badriyah (Abigail Choi Arader), Giovanna (London Griffith), Louise (Christina Dewar), Geri (Meredith Rust) and Michelle (Ayo Akinsanya) wait for Tara’s arrival in the back room of Michelle’s crystal shop. Original photo by Dorian Palumbo.

By Andrew Andrews

Tara Cornfield (Yating Sun) has trouble at work.

A technology project manager at a financial services firm, Tara wants to get ahead, but can’t tell friend from foe among the men and women responsible for her advancement.

A colleague instructs her to purchase a hag stone through which to see the truth, but a visit to her local Jersey Shore crystal shop, owned and operated by Michelle (Esther Ayomide “Ayo” Akinsanya) leaves her empty-handed.

Instead, Tara responds to a flier for a class in “Mediumship and Divination,” led by a Scottish woman named Geri (Meredith Rust) in the back room of the shop.

First to arrive despite being late, Tara soon meets the rest of her new “tribe:” the soon-to-be-married Louise (Christina Dewar), Italian kindergarden teacher Giovanna (London Griffith) and the married-to-money Badriyah (Abigail Choi Arader).

Each woman possesses some sort of power, and struggles with a personal problem. But it’s Tara, determined to avoid a breakdown at thirty-four (“the perfect age for a mental collapse”), who attempts to cast a spell to save them all, only to have it backfire and alienate her from the tribe.

Now, we’ll be honest: when we read the synopsis for Divination, we didn’t have high hopes for us liking the story.

You see, although we’ve counted among personal friends a witch, a yogi and plenty of rainbow gatherers, well... let’s just say we’re not very spiritual, so we didn’t think Divination would leave us spellbound.

But Divination, friends, is one well-written script by Dorian Palumbo, and American Theatre of Actors was wise to premiere it on Halloween—a time when our American minds are more open than usual to other-worldly ideas and ideals.

Directed by Ken Coughlin—whom we last saw in Banned in Bisbee on the same stage—the performances by Akinsanya and Griffith as two hard-working women persevering against the hand of fate were especially laudable.

Normally, this is the point where we’d tell you to check out the show for yourself; however, as chance would have it, we were barely able to catch one of the last performances ourselves.

Instead, we’ll have to advise you to keep an eye open for it’s reincarnation.

If you were lucky enough to attend this run, scroll down a bit and tell us what you thought of this production, and we’ll use your rating to predict a future of live performances you’re destined to love!

3

Andrew Andrews attended Divination at American Theatre of Actors Beckman Theater in New York on Sunday, November 11, 2018 @ 12:00pm to write this review.

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