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|A CurtainUp Review
Where Everything Is Everything
The joys and pitfalls of being single in a big city are a continuing lure for playwrights. The potential of so many viewers who can identify with such a play seems irresistible. The challenge of exploring such relationships in a fresh way and to put comparisons to Seinfeld and other sitcoms to rest is even more alluring.
Not content to write yet another story of two people who might or might not get together, Stephen Spoonamore has directed and produced as well as written another couples saga. Its advance billing describes it as "the story of two people from two different worlds in one relationship." Those two people are Dan a powerful, fast-talking full of self-confidence financial whiz and a less-than-confident graphic designer named Tracy.
The playwright's biggest assets are two talented performers, Daisy Eagan and Paul Sparks, who play the hero and heroine, as well as four roles peripheral to their to be or not to be relationship. But hard as Eagan and Sparks try, Spoonamore has dealt them a hand that no amount of good acting can turn into a winner. From the terrible title, to some embarrassingly awkward audience participation shtik to the midpoint gimmick of having the toss of an audience member's coin decide whether Dan's and Tracy's relationship will be Everything or Nothing -- this play doesn't have a chance of distinguishing itself from countless other variations on the same theme. Sparks gets the better deal of the two actors, as the somewhat interesting Dan. Though he makes the most of this edge, it's not sharp enough to carry the day.
Granted, several people who fit the twenty-thirty-something audience profile chuckled at some of the lines intended to be chuckled at. Nevertheless, when the young man next to me got up and flipped that coin, I knew I didn't care whether this all ended happily or otherwise. And so, I did what I very rarely do, I left without finding out.
I look forward to seeing Eagan and Sparks in a worthier of their talents play. In the meantime, if you want to see whether you agree with those few chucklers or me, you have until mid-October to check it out at the Ryan Center. If you're curious about the difference between the happy and the unhappy ending (the actors actually play the second act according to the toss of that coin), you'll have to see the show twice. Since I didn't stay the course even once, all I can say is, good luck and here's hoping you prove me wrong-headed.