Saturday, November 02, 2013
PH continues to develop new work for the stage, with this new play running in their Peter Jay Sharp Theater by Marlane Meyer. Develop is an accurate description in this case because, in addition to being a preview performance during which new changes were being performed for the first time, the play still needs a lot of work.
The premise is interesting: how people are perceived and how relationships can bring change to those involved either because of, or in spite of those perceptions. (That's my take, at any rate, since it took well into Act 2 for that theme to emerge.)
Until then, however, main characters Aubrey (Laura Heisler) and Calvin (Rob Campbell) bounce around a very clunky and unfocused first act, surrounded by a chorus of two-dimensional, comic-book stereotypes, from white trash to murderous (Candy Buckley, Danny Wolohan, Jacqueline Wright, Haynes Thigpen). Ms. Meyer seems to be reaching for grand allegories as Aubrey, a disabled doctor with an unhealthy faith in an obscure saint, falls in love with Calvin, the former high school jock who peaked sophomore year and now can't hold a job because of his drinking and drug habits. Flaws in the supporting characters abound, from a sociopath brother, to a less-than-visionary medium. Ms. Buckley makes the most of her various roles, delivering a spot-on Lois Smith impression as Aubrey's conservative landlady. She's also a delicious, white trash Cruella DeVille as Calvin's mother in leopard leggings.
Director Lisa Peterson struggles with connecting the comic-book aspects to the more heartfelt moments and the pacing suffers as a result. Rachel Hauck's set adds much and flexes well to accommodate the myriad scene locations.
PH offers discount tickets to The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters for my readers (both of you):
Regular run: Oct 18-Dec 1
Tues 7, Wed-Fri at 8, Sat at 2:30 & 8, Sun at 2:30 & 7:30
Order by Nov. 5 and use the code SAINTBLOG
$40 (reg. $60) for all performances Oct. 18-Dec. 1
Call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 Noon to 8PM daily
In Person: Ticket Central Box Office, 416 W. 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenues