Schooling Giacomo – Theater Review
Jake (Giacomo) Montalto, a man in his late forties, flashes back to a Bronx summer in 1970 to help him overcome a present day crisis in his life. Audiences will take a comedic walk through Bronx funeral homes, street corner Italian clubs and hot summer weekends on Orchard Beach while becoming deeply involved with Jake, and the fate of his sixteen-year-old daughter.
“Schooling Giacomo” is one of those plays you want to like a lot. It’s got a very good cast, and it’s got an interesting idea. The problem is that the director is the same person as the writer. And we need somebody between the two to say enough is enough. The story centers on a young guy in the Bronx, and we see him both as a young man and as a grown up. The problem is we keep going back and forth between his grown up self, and his older self. It would have worked much better as a linear play. Much of the cast is very talented. The playwright certainly has a great ear for the patois of the Bronx. The problem is it takes too long to get to the point and going back and forth just slows things down including a a couple of dance sequences that we didn’t need at all. Having said that, with a little bit of judicious editing and perhaps a little bit of speeding up of the process, there is a really interesting story here with some very good performances. Two stars.