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A CurtainUp Berkshire Review
Lauren (Amanda Quaid) is a single, somewhat confused doctoral candidate whose summer is occupied by five engagement parties, including that of her best friend Allison (Kate Loprest.) Amanda's fiance Mark (Robert David Grant) is a smug womanizer with designs on Lauren. After a drunken inspired and unwise liaison with him, Lauren is consumed with guilt as she attempts to decide how to handle a very explosive situation.
To add complexity to the already angst-ridden turmoil, her cousin Catherine (Phoebe Strole) and Ryan (Adam Gerber,) her significant other, visit Lauren in a stopover that never ends. This pits the sophisticated, self-absorbed Bostonians against the seeming rustics. We have entered into a Trollope infused Victorian examination of modern mores and hilarious dramatic scrutiny of the minutiae which consumes many young people's lives. They even speak to us as they reveal the internal histrionics they wallow in when alone and allowed to think.
Brian Prather's simple yet effective set of lush garden pillars, and ornate sofa with allusions to a romantic gazebo is bathed in the summer glow of Yao Zhao's lighting. It serves as the versatile Victorian literary age backdrop which also happens to be the focus of Lauren's PHD. With little effort it also becomes Lauren's cramped apartment where light of day casts a sharp glow of realism on her internal struggles with the events whirling about her life.
These theatrics create vividly amusing scenes between Lauren and the other characters informed by the details that would be the paramount concern of the daily drama found in a Trollope novel. Their attention to every nuance of their waking moments seems to be representative of these extremely self-conscious, narcissistic characters who are both abusive of and abused by the social media which dominates their lives and the fine line they walk between private and public personae.
In a scene where Allison does a riff on beef sliders the anxiety created by myriad food choices and their implications is indicative of the semiotic symbolism of their universe where every sign, signal and gesture is seen as a statement which brands the image they have of themselves and each other. Ryan's "Everyone's eating a crab cake. Should I eat a crab cake?" is symptomatic of a world where studied metaphor has replaced insouciant spontaneity.
The millennials' real and universal fears are often hidden behind youthful arrogance and gorgeous costumes by Beth Goldenberg. Mark, the delicious roue played by Robert David Grant, zeroes in on the very human worry of everyman: "That everyone is the wrong person when you're afraid you're the wrong person."
This absorbing and appealing study of the current generation conceived by a young and promising Lucy Teitler is awash with references to au courant news topics that occupy and hold sway over millennial life choices. It examines the idea that meaning is created by one's every action and reaction and it is both zany and thought-provoking. Brought to life by a talented and energetic group of young actors who imbue every gesture and comment with a larger than life significance, this show is a provocative view of the tenor of the time.