St. Nicholas
Cygnet Theatre
Through Feb 23

Technology is a tidal wave that seems to ravage everything once considered sacred. Emails are killing off letters, digital cameras are slaughtering film. Computer graphics are ruining our attention spans. You don't hear good stories that are just told anymore.

Playwright Conor McPherson knows the power and strength of pure storytelling. His strange, wandering meditation on love and theater, St. Nicholas, contains no gimmicks; no structural tricks, no special effects. Star Ted Roisum does not utilize funny voices to portray different characters--never even RAISES his voice, for that matter--and his movements are tiny and quiet, when he moves at all.

The tale he spins of a cynical theater critic's journey through the underground of London, in search of a beautiful dancer, does not beat you over the head, but wafts up into your nostrils and down your throat, filling you like fine opium. The experience is akin to that of a great campfire story. You almost expect to see the flickering light of licking flames reflected in Roisum's eyes. Vampires appear, blood is shed, and it's all utterly plausible, just a natural element in the world Roisum has created with nothing but a stool and his beautiful baritone.

It is my hope that the recent surge of storytelling technology will cause a backlash. Once people have seen everything that technology can do, there will be nothing left to see, and on that beautiful day, pure story shall be born again. I doubt Ted Roisum and Conor McPherson are gods, but I am positive that they are at least prophets. They are keeping the faith alive.