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A CurtainUp Review
"So, whatcha doing?"—Brad
"Going to the Peter Frampton Concert with George."—Connie
'Who’s George? Is that your boyfriend? —Brad
"I just met him on the sidewalk."—Connie
"You must really like Peter Frampton."—Brad
"No, I just get lonely and needy. Oh, well, hope I don’t get raped!”Connie
You’ll immediately recognize the set of David Adjmi’s 3C as a dead ringer — down to the ubiquitous house plants and rounded wooden door— for the set of the 1970s-1980s television show Three’s Company. In 3C the sitcom’s Jack, Janet, and Chrissy are, respectively, Brad (Jake Silbermann), Linda (Hannah Cabell), and Connie (Anna Chlumsky). The landlord couple, the Ropers, even make appearances here as Mr. and Mrs. Wicker (Bill Buell and Kate Buddeke).
Jake Silbermann and Anna Chlumsky
(Photo by Joan Marcus)
Yet, the red Solo cups and pizza boxes that litter the set, and the used condom found on the couch soon tip us off that this trio is not the happy-go-lucky California household of television’s yesteryear.
Everyone in this group has a secret, a big one, which tends to distract them at the most inopportune, and consequently, funniest time. They may drop their conversation and stare into thin air, or take extended refuge in the apartment’s record player and their latest disco moves.
The most amusing character is Eddie Cahill’s Terry, Brad’s buddy and wingman, who takes the disco stereotype to the nth degree, thanks to Oana Betz’s clever costume design. 3C is not always but is often hilarious. Mimicking what made Three’s Company funny, its most comical gag is an extended one based on an absurd verbal misunderstanding.
Despite the constant and entertainingly absurd humor, Mr. Adjmi’s play goes a little deeper in its second act, and picks up. Mr. Silbermann, as Jake, gives us perhaps the best window into the anxiety and trauma that all three roommates grapple with in their private lives. A sexually questioning Viet Nam veteran, Jake endures vicious gay jokes from Mr. Wicker and is so self-loathing in a closeted time that he even participates in those jokes to gain the boor’s favor.
At its best, 3C searches for and finds something profound, troubling, and the laughs we get might often make us more than a little queasy.
By David Adjmi
Directed by Jackson Gay
Cast: Kate Buddeke (Mrs. Wicker), Bill Buell (Mr. Wicker), Hannah Cabell (Linda), Eddie Cahill (Terry), Anna Chlumsky (Connie), Jake Silbermann (Brad)
Scenic Design: John McDermott
Costume Design: Oana Botez
Lighting Design: Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design: Matt Tierney
Choreography: Deney Terrio
Hair & Makeup Design: Jon Carter
Producer: piece by piece productions, Rising Phoenix Repertory and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Production Manager: Eugenia Furneaux
Production Stage Manager: Tom Taylor
Running Time: Ninety minutes, no intermission
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, Greenwich Village, www. Rattlestick.org
From June 6 – July 14, 2012 ; opening June 21, 2012
Performance schedule : Mondays – Thursdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Reviewed by William Coyle, based on the June 18, 2012 performance
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