Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She Stoops To Comedy

The SF Playhouse
She Stoops To Comedy
By David Greenspan
Directed by Mark Rucker

Liam Vincent: Alexandra Page
Amy Resnick: Kay Fein/Jayne Summerhouse
Sally Clawson: Alison Rose
Cole Alexander Smith: Hal Stewart
Carly Cioffi: Eve Addaman
Scott Capurro: Simon Lanquish

Saturday, 19 December 2009, 8:00pm

She Stoops To Comedy is an odd little production. The play is a 90 minute post-modern farce. The main action concerns an actress disguising herself as a man in order to play opposite her ex-lover in As You Like It. The actress is played by a male actor, in this case the watchable Liam Vincent. His version of the character seems to be a flamboyant gay man rather than an impersonation of a woman. I suspect that this, like many elements of the play, is simply meant to be out of whack. The cast seems to be performing several mutually exclusive drafts of a play simultaneously. A scene may jump in time & place, with the action continuing in a manner inconsistent with what just happened before. Often the actors merely narrate a scene instead of acting it out. Characters can be confused as to their own identifies. The comedy arises out of these deliberately half-assed situations.

There is a steady stream of lightly amusing jokes, though no huge laughs. A highlight is a set piece in which actress Amy Resnick ends up having to portray both sides in a 2-character scene. It's as if the playwright forgot that he was doubling roles. I liked Carly Cioffi's pitch-perfect embodiment of an intelligent young woman caught up in an unfulfilling relationship. This subplot, as well as a sad & bitter monologue delivered by Scott Capurro, keeps the play from being entirely fluff. In the last scene, one of the characters tells us that the plot is modeled after The Guardsman, which of course I have never seen. It's entirely possible, therefore, that the entire thing is going straight over my pointy head.

There were many empty seats, even though the venue is small. I think the play is just strange enough that it is having problems finding an audience. & the play wasn't the only thing off-kilter that night. I held a ticket for a seat A12, which did not exist. I sat in seat A14 instead, with no ill effects.

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