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None of the Above
These changes are important to note when viewing None of the Above. Otherwise, you'll find yourself confused when the characters start talking about perfect scores of 2400. None of the Above looks at the cut-throat world of SAT prep, especially among the upper classes. Jamie is a 17-year-old moneyed Upper East Side socialite, going to a very elite private school. She spends her days texting, shopping, and clubbing, with very little effort going towards studying. Her parents are corporate jetsetters, usually traveling or on a never-ending international conference call. Clark is a poor, struggling grad student, hired as Jamie's private SAT tutor.
As Clark and Jamie begin to work together, we realize Jamie is a lot smarter than she lets on—and that Clark has some very real and deep problems that he's trying to keep hidden. He's struck a Faustian deal with Jamie's father: he'll get paid an astronomical sum, but only if Jamie gets a perfect score on the test. Jamie, in a true paean to her parents' vicious business instincts, agrees to study her hardest, provided that Clark gives her a cut of his proceeds. Both learn that their futures depend on her success.
This is a fairly vapid play masquerading as social commentary. However, it turns out that the play is a lot like Jamie—smarter than it first appears. Still, at two hours (with intermission), it's about 40 minutes longer than it needs to be. A lot of the scenes focus solely on character development at the expense of the story development. However, there's a great dynamic between the two characters, and although Clark is Dweeb Personified, Jamie has a very satisfying bit of personal growth.
Halley Feiffer and Adam Green have worked together before (most recently in Second Stage's Election Day), and it shows. Their easy camaraderie belies the tense nature of their characters' relationship, though their familiarity makes the romantic ending seem forced.
While there's a lot of fluff in the play, Julie Kramer's direction downplays it. The set, which is appallingly accurate in all its pink-ruffles-and-stuffed-animals-17-year-old glory, could have been simpler and still gotten its point across. The scene changes should be faster.
Ultimately this is an intriguing look at class dynamics, the increasing pressures on teenagers to excel (especially those with over-achievers for parents) and the role of standardized testing in a so-called education. Dealing with the SATs and getting into a good school is hard enough (as most of us will remember); it's exponentially more stressful when you're aiming for perfection in the form of a 2400 score. The real lesson to be learned from those tests: It isn't the score that matters, but what you learn along the way.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
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The Playbill Broadway YearBook
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