By James Foritano
Boston, MA – Artscope was at the Cutler Majestic Theater for a recent performance as Hershey Felder stepped out on stage with only artfully configured lighting and a few props to lead us through the crisis of President Lincoln’s assassination.
It helps, when one has something to say, especially over the length of 90 minutes, to be multi-talented. To sing, to dance, to mime, to mimic doesn’t necessarily illuminate every wrinkle of this complex communal and personal tragedy, but it does provide entertainment, and even provocation to wonder.
In popular song and musical accompaniment (on Abe Lincoln’s piano) Mr. Felder conjures up the world of sound and rhythm of an era. And we hear that world comforting and dialoguing with itself when art was largely homemade.
Along this journey, Felder eloquently assumes and sheds multiple personas but concentrates on the person of the 23 year old U. S. army surgeon who was literally the ‘man on the spot’ when Abe Lincoln passed. Everybody’s passage through life and life’s crucial moments is unique and also, of course, of a piece with his fellows.
And Felder’s art, in this reviewer’s opinion, probes deepest when he dramatizes this interpenetration, putting every him and her in the audience on the same spot with a man who is utterly himself and utterly of his time.
We had a cup of coffee later on just up Tremont Street at the ThinkingCup. The pastry was sweet; the coffee fulfilled its promise, both sensations the richer, I’ll wager, for our previous experience.
(Hershey Felder in “Abe Lincoln’s Piano” continues through May 31 at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street, Boston. For tickets, call (617) 824-8400.)