Second Stage Theater
305 W. 43rd St. – Midtown West
Written by: RAJIV JOSEPH
Directed by: SCOTT ELLIS
Starring: JENNIFER CARPENTER (Dexter) and PABLO SCHREIBER (The Wire)
We started off a little late for this play. Jen’s dad came in from PA for a show and dinner to celebrate Christmas. It’s a late January Christmas celebration. We got a cab around 1:30PM but didn’t foresee the traffic. The Boat show was in town at the Javits Center and we were sitting in traffic. We got to the show about five minutes into the first scene. Thankfully we did not miss much. The bummer was the seating. Since we were late they gave up our fourth row seats and we had to sit in the back. But at least we got to sit together. The play has no intermission and lasts about 90 minutes.
As far as I could tell, the first scene was the worst scene in the play although it did set everyone up for what was to come. I have a problem when adults play kids and the first scene was where at the age of eight Kayleen (Jennifer Carpenter) and Doug (Pablo Schreiber) meet in the school nurse’s office. I just don’t see it as believable for adults to play kids. It never works; it just comes off as over-acting and strange. They never revisit the age of eight throughout the play. Yay! It turns out that Doug is a bit careless and oblivious to danger and he repeatedly winds up in school nurses’ offices and intensive care units. Kayleen, meanwhile, is susceptible to more psychological distress, revealed in her neurotic episodes of pill popping and self-mutilation.
The play has a quirky tone. It is a dark and amusing ride. The play is spread out over thirty years from the age of eight to the age of thirty-eight. The years jump around and flash forward then back then forward then back. The characters meet less frequently as they grow older. The older they are the more life has beaten and scarred them. The meetings are always in some sort of hospital, at a funeral, or mental facility. Doug is losing eyes and limbs, while Kayleen is losing her mind.
I enjoyed the play as well as the theater. The stage was very simplistic. Jennifer and Pablo moved all their own props and changed right on stage between scenes. During the entire show you only saw Pablo and Jennifer. The stage was made of plastic blocks and the perimeter blocks held water that Pablo used to wash the blood make-up off his face and after Jennifer would reapply his make-up for his new injury. As this was happening the lights would be dimmed and loud rock type music would play. When the scene was to start a large screen behind the stage would tell the audience the age of the characters in the oncoming scene. It was all very interesting to watch.
It was good. I recommend it. Jen and I are big Dexter fans and I loved The Wire so we maybe a little bias. I have one regret and that was not getting there on time to get our FOURTH ROW SEATS!
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