Blood Type: Ragu at the Capital Repertory Theater, Review SHARE THE GEORGE! Blood Type: Ragu, Capital Repertory Theater, Review http://thefreegeorge.com/thefreegeorge/blood-type-ragu-capital-repertory... You know, it must be tough being Frank Ingrasciotta, writer and star of the one-man show Blood Type: Ragu. Not because he had a father who was not exactly touchy-feely. Not because he found his mother after a failed attempt at suicide. It must be tough to be Frank Ingrasciotta because he wrote a ninety minute autobiographical play and the biggest knock against it is that the story seems recycled. Boy cannot understand parents, endures cultural differences, grows up, understands, forgives, meets girl, dances in a field. That said, while the story may be one you’ve seen before, Blood Type: Ragu makes for a worthwhile and enjoyable night at the theater, regardless of nationality. The night I went, June 1st, was opening night, and upon entering the theater I was met with a very… well… Italian scene. Loud, boisterous, joyous, I half expected some in-law or another to come and cover my cheeks with a fresh coat of red lipstick. Vincent M. Bonafede played Italian standards on a piano, adding an appropriate and appreciated ambience. Richard Lovrich, art director at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady and a local staple in the artistic community, could be seen chatting it up, moving from group to group and leaving people with smiles on their lips, bringing new laughter to the room. All this had the effect of an opening act. Everyone was warmed up and ready to be entertained, and so it was a relief that Ingrasciotta entertained so capably. The set was minimal. A chair, a doorway, and a series of screens far upstage upon which were projected different images as befitting the “scene” (there were no formal scenes, just a turn in the narrative with a correlating change in the projection). The energy of the piece was the first thing I noticed. There was no humble bow, no half-wave, just an immediate and effective launch into the work. At first, the play is difficult to follow, not so much because the story is complex, but because the man plays over twenty-five different people and they all have different voices. Also, much of the play is initially spoken in Italian, though Ingrasciotta takes pains (often hilarious pains) to translate for his audience. For example, “[Italian words]. Translation: You piece of whore without a husband.” Eventually, however, I became accustomed to the voices and was able to identify who was speaking purely through inflection. The fact that Ingrasciotta was able to move with such dexterity between accents and the tonal characteristics of men and women (without lapsing into an overdone, goofy falsetto) must be respected here, for it did much to keep the audience’s attention. Somehow, though I was always looking at one man, the speed with which he could speak through a variety of characters gave the impression that my eyes were always moving across the stage, darting back and forth throughout inter-character exchanges. My only knock, as previously stated, is that I felt like I had heard this story before, but frankly I admire Ingrasciotta for not making Blood Type: Ragu into something completely outlandish for the sake of originality, because, although I am not Italian, I felt I could relate to the story. It touches on more than cultural differences, but generational, on growing up and getting a life, even if that takes you a bit longer than you planned. Capital Repertory Theater ended this night with champagne and Italian pastries for all, compliments of the house, and though this was of course just an opening night thing, it rounded out the night well. A touch like this makes it easy to believe this was the last show of the thirtieth season at Capital Rep, and that another season is on the way. With so many budgetary cuts and donor cutbacks due to the economy being what it is, another season was no guarantee (just ask NYSTI). Ingrasciotta came out and mingled with the audience, shaking hands and thanking them for their support of him and of the arts in general, to which many thanked him for providing something of value to support. Personally, I count myself among the grateful. Blood Type: Ragu runs through June 19, 2011. For tickets and general info, visit www.capitalrep.org –Matthew Holden is an Assistant Editor of The Free George. The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.