ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Review
The Set Up
By Julia Furay
Playwright James Lindenberg has some interesting thoughts about relationships, but hasn't found a solid dramatic structure to contain them. It's the story of a married couple, Bill and Doris (Scott Cunningham and Jennifer Danielle), who set up a pair of good friends, and end up jeopardizing their own marriage. The set up "victims", Carolyn (Tara Westwood) and Robert (Lindenberg not only plays this part but also directs), would seem to be made for each other, but have trouble admitting it.
The major problem is that these are characters in their thirties who act like teenagers which makes it hard to take them seriously and doesn't shape up dramatically; for example, as Carolyn and Robert are ready to give up on their relationship because of a missed phone call, so Doris seems ready to toss away ten years of marriage without any soul-searching whatsoever.
There are additional problems. At 95 minutes the play isn't really long, but too much of it drags so that it feels longer. Lindenberg's direction doesn't help. There's not a lot of creativity in the staging, especially the far too many unnecessary blackouts. The realistic sets (by Josh Starr) are cheap looking . A sparser look might have been a better option in such a small theater. On the other hand, Laura Catignani's costumes make the cast look great.
It's too bad that some of Lindenberg's really worth thinking about ideas about relationships couldn't have been explored in a less messy production. The actors do come into their own during monologues in which they discuss their relationship philosophies and dating histories. Unfortunately, plot devices inevitably upstage these moments of authenticity.
Though Lindenberg is to be admired for taking on so many theatrical responsibilities, he probably would have served his play better if he'd shared some of them. As it is The Setup disappoints because it could have been so much more rewarding.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
The Little Mermaid
Shrek The Musical
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide
Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook