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A CurtainUp Review
I Could Say More
By Tyler Plosia
Despite its flaws, there is plenty to appreciate. Chuck Blasius's writing (he also acts and directs) is notable for its ability to blend wit and melancholy. Most impressive is the rapidity and clarity with which the script establishes all nine of the play's characters unique voices, as well as the dynamics of'the relationships. Most of these are plagued by troublesome histories, so it doesn't take long for discontent to creep into the dialogue in the form of biting quips, and often outright attacks.
The acting is uniformly solid. Grant James Varjas's brinsg believability to the hard-drinking, pill-popping Phil with a combination of shakiness and snarkiness. Kate Hodge demonstrates how to flesh out a character. Her Lila at first spews out seemingly unforgivable vitriol but later seems to atone for this with a palpable sense of guilt.
More than half of the characters in the play are gay males, which is less relevant in terms of story than one might expect. It is not that gayness doesn't come up a lot in conversation but that LBGT politics don't surface too frequently. For the most part, the sexual preferences of the characters are interchangeable.
The play's most problematic aspect is its unabashed exclusivity, which it shares with its Hamptons beach house setting. There's an insularity that's especially evident in the humor. Dyson, the reckless young renegade, (played with endearing aloofness by Frank Delessio) arrives onstage in a Nirvana T-Shirt, part of what is meant to be received as a transgressive presentation but comes off more like lazy costume design.
The direction encourages overlaps in dialogue as different characters inhabit different parts of the house. This is presumably done in an attempt at projecting realism but tends to feel too experimental though it does at times help the actors shine and the writing to flow. The wit is undeniably there. Too bad it too often strives too hard to be special.