Directed by Jim Simpson, The Flea Theater
This play is a compendium of current topical concerns about the
environment, junk food and junk in our food, etc., built around a romance between a man and a woman, each with children and each married to someone else.
Nina, a successful writer, and Jesse, a sculptor who doesn’t exhibit his work and a take-care-of-the-child dad, meet while keeping an eye on their young children at the playground. Nina’s the big talker and who takes up those topical concerns with apocalyptic pessimism. Jesse, who’s into meditation, tends to see good possibilities in problems (he’s such a dull personality I didn’t notice this about him but that’s what Nina says).
Their flirtation rumbles along through conversation, punctuated by a couple of dramatic incidents, one involving Jesse’s child and another a big hurricane, dramatized with multi-colored lighting effects. There are two possible endings but a lack of suspense.
Nina’s articulateness and answer-for-everything personality is well conveyed by Danielle Slavick — her responses and emphases in gestures are sharp and fun to watch for awhile though by the end of the play they seemed repetitive. There’s no chemistry felt between her and Stephen Barker Turner in the role of Jesse, though, and in any case it’s hard to know what she sees in him.
The play seems to “hope” in a sense that people will respond to it through recognition of current situations and buzz words — ecological problems, stay-at-home-dads (and alleged lowered testosterone levels, Science Times sorts of things), women who make more money than men, pollution of seafood, vegans, inter-religious relationships, meditation. The romance seems no more than a synthetic framework for voicing these familiar contemporary issues.
I See You plays at The Flea Theater in Manhattan’s Tribeca district through December 21, 2014. For more information and tickets, click on live link of title.
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