note: entire contents copyright 2014 by Richard Pacheco
Image Theatre in Lowell continues its commitment to new plays and local playwrights with its current production of “Tapped Out” by Massachusetts playwright Karla Sorensen with an evening that is full of solid acting and intriguing twists and turns.
It is the 1980’s and Manny buys a bar in an old mill town fighting for a second chance and new life. The dilapidated bar is a dive with the same customers who cluster there, stuck in their same lives and struggling for a second chance or better life. Manny has taken some chances to start his bar and those hard choices may be crashing down back on him including his unconventional financing arrangements he made until he can get a VA loan. Things are in jeopardy and Manny faces these trials and tribulations with the most fortitude he can muster, some new dreams and a new love.
David Sullivan is Manny, a man with a past and some dark secrets, troubled by guilt over the death of friend years ago and the sad state of his current life mired in failure and frustration. Yet Manny is trying to dig his way out, buying a bar with the hopes of renovating it with the help of his former crush and new love, Janine. She has dreams like him is wiling to help propel him into his much denied success and borderline legal ways. Sullivan is straightforward and direct as the former champion teenager boxer now struggling for dignity and success.
Drew Shadrawy is Tucker, a drunken, boisterous coot who hangs around, and is a long time friend to Manny. He is on disability and walks with a limp and spends his time dreaming of the good ole days in the bar, resistant to any kind of change at all, determined to remain a fixture in an unchanging landscape of broken down bars and fond remembrances from the past, or even not so fond ones. He has a shady side, skirting the other side of the law with ease and frequency, but under it all loyal to his friend and his welfare, or what he thinks it his best welfare. Shadrawy is gruff and cranky, yet full of humor in the role, plunging right ahead to remain in the past. He is sincere and skillful in the performance.
Jenney Dale Holland is Janine, one time neighborhood cutie who left for California and a better life but is back home to take care of business when her mother dies, she must deal with the estate and sell her mother’s house. She is attracted to Manny, claiming she always was and wants to forge a new life with him, including the future fate of the bar. She has secrets from her past as well, which might permeate her potential for a better future, one filled with success and joy. She is pert and perky in the role and handles the romantic scenes with Sullivan with flair and sincerity.
Director Jerry Bizantz handles it all with skill and finesse including making good use of the small space. The set design by him and Ann Garvin, Bill Walter and Shadrawy works well and makes good use of space.
“Tapped Out” at Image Theater, upstairs at the Old Court Pub, 29 Central street, Lowell, MA www.imagetheater.com or call 978-441-0102. Continues until Nov. 14.