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Keyword: ‘Melanie Marnich’


June 22nd, 2009 No comments

I think what I like best about this play (other than the two leading ladies) is the manner in which relationships are distilled to raw absurdity. Melanie Marnich regularly compresses time to generate hysterical representations–sort of like coal being squeezed to present a diamond, or pressing fruit to extract juice. You get the idea.

Two plates (as in tectonics) meet in Quake

Two plates (as in tectonics) meet in Quake

Laurel Johnson is the big hit in this one (no surprise here) as That Woman: a hip-slappin’ hottie who can out-philosophize you, out fuck you, and then kill you when she’s wrung you out. Lucy (Erin Scerbak) is the naïve vixen screwing her way across the country looking for Mr. Goodbar, culminating in her own brutal run in with a predictably brutal grease-monkey (Tom Kondilas) who excels at playing casually aggressive male characters.

I’d like to say that this play did something for me, other than the scintillation occasioned by various physical antics—that and the very funny comedic moments from both Christian Prentice and Stuart Hoffman as the various Mr. Goodbar candidates adopted by Lucy in her travels. But it really didn’t.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was funny and there were some very good theatrical moments that Arthur Grothe managed very well (I especially liked getting a drill thrust toward my face—if you like that sort of thing sit in the front row, stage left). But Marnich’s piece was only good for breadth, not depth and it was never clear to me that Lucy’s ‘big love’ was anything more than an onanistic quest that barely did more than disregard all the Goodbars.

The most compelling moment is the late meeting between Lucy and That Woman, where That Woman poignantly reflects on what she sacrificed in settling down—a theme with which I have become all-too-familiar lately. It is the one moment of true, possible connection in the piece and one that Lucy rejects (does she reject her ‘big love?’). Unfortunately, I’m not entirely convinced that Lucy understands the choice, so its impact is undermined as she wanders into the Pacific in her blithering naivety.

Overall, I enjoyed the play, but mostly for its episodic nature and the fact that I love convergence and love seeing these people engaged in ‘play making.’

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