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A CurtainUp Review
By David Avery
Unfortunately, Donavon Thomas' play Post falls squarely into the latter camp. It is the story of friends Chuck (Nathanyael Grey) and Michael (Donavon Thomas), both of whom served in the war. Chuck has been home for a while, and Michael has just been discharged. Chuck offers Michael the opportunity to share his rather shabby and run-down apartment, which happens to be owned by Michael's father (David Pantsari). Chuck is currently working as an EMT, and Michael hopes to get a similar job. Into this incestuous mix bounces Autumn (Jamie Renee Smith), their vegan, non-drinking, pixie-like neighbor. She also bakes.
To say that we are headed for a calamitous love triangle is a little like saying "I let go of the ball and it dropped." Grey and Thomas play their parts with a very subdued tone without a lot of histrionics over the war, their experiences, or reassimilating into regular society. It's very matter-of-fact. This is in contrast to Smith's slightly manic and off center Autumn. Her attraction to Michael is in part due to her initial rejection from Chuck.
There are some great set touches that offset the nonchalant tone, including an abundance of liquor bottles in various states of depletion, as well as a rather badly-patched fist-sized hole in the bathroom door. Each belies the perceived calm of the characters.
The problem with the play is that is takes way to long to get to any kind of point and that it could stand to lose about 30 minutes. The same points are made again and again, with no apparent building of tension.
Much was made in the advance promotional materials about the play exploring the consequences of returning veterans, but the fact that Chuck and Michael have experienced war is irrelevant to the action and outcome. It doesn't take battle fatigue to create volatile situations and that craziness isn't limited to discombobulated soldiers unable to cope with civilian life.
Another problem is the pacing of the scene changes. The entire play takes place in the apartment front room/kitchen, and yet scene changes drag on interminably. Director Timothy Gagliardo needs to pick up the pace and keep the action moving.
Post, while definitely showing signs of forward advancement, could definitely use another round of basic training.