Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Unnoticed"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Larry Stark

"The Unnoticed"

Written & Directed by Brian Tuttle

Set Design by Tim Spencer
Lighting Design by Greg Jutkiewicz
Dramaturgy etc by Julie Levene
Live Music & Sound Design by Meghan Yates
Mermaid by Kristin Sheehy
Stage Manager Danielle Wright

Jay..........Jason Warner
Jeff...........Kurt Klump
Thomas....Terrence Haddad
Erin....Philana Gnatowski
Mike.........Benjy Schirm
Beth.......Melissa Baroni
Marie....Melanie Connealy
Margaret.....Julie Levene

For his new play Brian Tuttle starts with three 20-something house-mates living together yet nervously isolated from one another, in a cramped set designed by Tim Spencer. The main playing-area is their common living-room, with exits to the street, a bathroom, and to one person's private room through the blinds of which the audience can look in, and actors can look out to the street. Stage-right is a park with a life-size statue of a mermaid, where the play begins with one roommate confiding to that statue on a break from work at a computer-company.

Tuttle tends to throw out lots of odd ideas and peculiar, disparate characters, then to tie them all together by the final scene. Jay, played by Jason Warner, is basically a fuck-up admitting he doesn't understand Life. For instance, he and a girl-friend (Melissa Baroni) who appears later never phone one another and have never had a date. His work-mate/house-mate Thomas (Never called Tommy or Tom) is a workaholic computer nerd, repressing his desire to be a stand-up commedian, with two modes: blandly uncommunicative or explosively angry. The third roomie Erin (Philana Gnatowski) often has Her boyfriend (Benjy Schirm) stay over --- sleeping not with her but on the couch. At twenty-three she's still studying "Communications" though nearly everything she communicates comes through the physical tensions of her body.

What changes everything (and everyOne by the end of the play) is Jay finding a woman apparently washed up on the shore with no memory, no fingerprints, but with a sponge-like mind and an eidetic memory. Played by Melanie Connealy and christened "Marie" she is soon sleeping on the couch, selling fruit at a market down the block, making eerily intuitive comments about everyone, and changing lives left and right. Only when a reporter from the GLOBE (Julie Levene) writes a major feature about her does reality reassert itself.

Oh yes, there is one other person who intrudes into these lives periodically. He is apparently an inarticulate street-person who harrangues everyone with gestures and a speech in what sounds like broken Russian that includes the mispronounced words "angels" "miracle" and "peace". As played by Curt Klump he is an enigmatic bit of comic-relief that actually holds this two and a half hours together and, though I will not tell you what he said, when he finally spoke his message in clear English at the end of the play I burst into uncontrollable tears.

This young cast, on world premier night, was occasionally too intimate or too excited to be understood, but the playwright as director will rectify that, and they have an amazing grasp of the quick, flip, guarded conversations of the young in everyday lives. They also know that, especially in theater, magic happens every day, whether noticed or not.

(a k a larry stark)

"The Unnoticed" (22 - 30 September)
The Devanaughn Theatre 791 Tremont Street, BOSTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide