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Al's Business Cards
It all begins when Al Gurvis (Azhar Khan) decides he can expand his business with cards announcing him as a gaffing assistant, which is something less than an electrician. The cards are accidentally mixed up with the cards of Eileen Lee (Lauren Hines), who is in the midst of a messy divorce from her husband Daniel (Malcolm Madera). Even worse, the printers have read the "f" as "s," turning Al into a gassing assistant.
Al, who is something of a nerd, mistakes Eileen's desire to help him out of his substandard housing for possible romantic interest. He tries to form a relationship with her, even though she is obviously completely out of his league.
In the meantime, Daniel, with the help of a private eye, Jose Alvarez (Gabriel Gutierrez), tries to use that relationship to his advantage in the divorce proceedings. When Alvarez, who is cunning but not very clever, gets hold of Al's "gasser's assistant" business cards, he makes certain assumptions that become the foundation of hilarious confusions that take on almost Shakespearean proportions.
Lauren Keating directs this gentle farce with a sure hand. She allows the characters room to be fully ridiculous, without ever holding them up to ridicule. This creates genuine sympathy for Al, a character who in less capable hands could easily become pathetic.
However, no small part of the credit goes to Khan, who makes the bumbling Al fully aware of his failures and thus enables him to rise above them. His scenes with Moreno are filled with the kinds of interactions anyone who has seen blue collar workers at their jobs will immediately recognize.
Moreno has a real flair for comedy. Barry's scene with the misinformed Alvarez, who is trying to pump Barry for information on his friend, is the funniest part of the play.
Al's Business Cards is a short play by an emerging playwright, and it has clearly been produced on a tight budget. Its single set has been put into service as Al's place of work, Eileen's apartment and Alvarez's office, and it does just fine.
In fact, it is this very lack of pretension that makes this so attractive. Here is a comedy about the kind of people who are not frequently given a voice. These are people who are neither articulate nor wealthy. But they deserve to have their say, something Al's Business Cards does with care and humor.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
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Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide