Bronx native, Ralph Scarpato, produces thought-provoking play

The Ladies of Fisher Cove are (clockwise from top): Tanya Badgley, Segal Magori and Mandy Nicole Moore. Also featured in the production are Martin Ewens and Nadja Hoyer-Booth.

Can the sexes overcome their natural antagonisms, or will their failure ultimately result in apocalypse?

This is the question posed by The Ladies of Fisher Cove, the latest production by The Absinthe-Minded Theatre Company, an indie theatre group that was formed a decade ago by Bronx native Ralph Scarpato. As producing artistic director, he has dedicated the company to producing lesser-known plays that are worthy of revival.

Scarpato spends a great deal of time reading and researching plays from around the world, then narrowing them to those that conform to the group’s main criterion – plays that have an edginess, something for the audience members to discuss and remember long after the curtain falls.

Recent productions have included This Story of Yours, a play about a British Police Sergeant who kills a suspected child molester when the man forces him to examine his own motivations. Before that was Idioglossia, the New York premiere of the basis for the film Nell – the story of a “wild child”, a young woman who grew up with no exposure to society, and the researcher who crosses the line in his relationship with her. And there was Brimstone and Treacle, the tale of a deranged man who rapes a young woman out of a coma, which poses the question, “is an act evil if the result is good”?

But with Ladies of Fisher Cove, AMTC takes on its most disturbing project yet. It’s the story of three sisters who live in quarantine when all the men in their cove die of a horrible plague – until a mysterious stranger washes ashore and proceeds to seduce and mesmerize them.

The play is funny, eerie and thought-provoking, full of the kind of humor and bizarre situations that intelligent adults will find intriguing. It’s the kind of play that’s open to countless interpretations, but each person who sees it will settle on their own and defend it over after-dinner drinks. But leave the kids at home. This material is not for children under 17.

Scarpato considers his current cast among the finest he’s ever worked with, a combination of actresses (and one actor) from various backgrounds who have come together to create an ensemble that remains believable in some incredible situations. Another asset to the production is Osnat Greenbaum, the company’s costumer and sometime director, who is an adjunct professor in the Theatre Department at Lehman College.

The play runs Wednesdays through Sundays from April 29 through May 17 at The Sanford Meisner Theater, across from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan. The playwright, Allan Havis, will hold a Q&A with the audience following the May 2nd performance. Much more information can be found on the website or by calling (212) 714-4696.

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