I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I made plans to review Empath on opening night at Theatre Lab at 357 West 36th st. A very cool contained non-profit that presents interesting performance choices out of the mainstream and a great alternative to expensively priced ticket venues. The welcoming vibe was right where it needed to be, and the theatre was a clean stark white, making anything or anyone else in the space light up. Sitting among us was David Sauvage, a slender, curly-haired unassuming guy who suddenly popped out of the audience to tell us his story; a unique one, filled with surprises for himself and those around his life’s journey. While making discoveries, his seeming failures are for his enlightenment, and as he moves through his life experience getting many of the answers he searching for, not least of which is realizing that he sees things, and is feeling things that just seem a little unusual.

Sauvage finds that he is an empath, someone who feels what others do, which affects his circumstances and life moments with surprising consequences from professional to personal. Rather than tell you about his family, friends, theater background, filmmaking, Shamans, or the Ayahuasca trips he takes or the strangers he meets, I suggest you see his very thoughtful and insightful production for yourself. It will keep you curious and interested.

Sauvage is quite a person. He has an excellent sense of humor, is beautifully sensitive and has a winning inquisitiveness and honestly seeks truth; the shortfall of his one man show is that it must be tightened up a bit. The play plods along rather than moves fluidly to its conclusion, and sometimes it seems a bit disjointed. Empath could use a bit of cutting. It felt at times like a long sentence with too many parentheses in it. Hence it rambled a bit and seemed forced at intervals and slightly unfocused. I wanted to see Sauvage command the space and grab onto the moment a little less self-consciously, dipping into the strength of his core; taking us into his world confidently, positively, enduring even his doubts as a willing warrior throughout, rather than at times.

For the conclusion of Empath, he invited a few people to participate with him on stage, demonstrating his gift by reading them. For David Sauvage, his guest and the audience it was captivating, moving, and undoubtedly his second sight is real and felt.

Empath is presented by Theaterlab (357 w. 36th St), running 10/29–11/9. Directed by Catie Davis, with lighting & sound design by Jake DeGroot.

I am an art and culture writer/adviser. You can find my work on HuffPost, The New York Daily News, Artlyst, NY Lifestyle Magazine, Culture Sonar, and Medium.

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