Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Almost Happy

Part of Dragon Theater's play development workshop, Almost Happy had its second reading this afternoon, my first time seeing it. I am surprised it beat out 50 other scripts because the writing is awful, and the plot is contrived.

Aaron has been living in the same apartment as Tess for a long time, somewhere between 1 and 6 years. It isn't made clear how or when this came about except they have known each other "forever". Tess is a feminist activist and Aaron is a rich kid from Connecticut with a ton of liberal ideas which he spouts in confused pages-long monologues. He has never had a girlfriend for more than 3 months. In fact, Tess points out, he seems to self-destruct all his relationships a few hours short of 3 months.

Enter Naomi. Shy, smart, cute, thinks Aaron is The One. Just before the 3-month limit, she tells Aaron she loves him, he breaks up with her.  Tess consoles her and seduces her. This is really our first solid clue Tess is a lesbian.

Aaron has a problem with this, because he is in love with Tess. He and Tess become friends with benefits for no apparent reason. Naomi finds out about this, and tells some lies to Aaron to win him back. The show ends with Aaron taking Naomi out to celebrate 3 months together.

Katie Rose Kreuger plays Naomi, and she has the same little girl high voice IRL as she has on stage.  She is very easy to look at, not as easy to listen to. Sara Luna is Tess, and she does strong, sarcastic activist very well. Rory Strahan-Mauk is about 6'8" tall and beanpole thin with an auburn beard which halos his face. They all seemed to struggle with the script. Toward the end of the show, it was clear that Tess' script was missing a couple of pages or inserts. Having directed a play-in-progress myself, I know how this can happen. But it shouldn't.

 This is basically a 1-act plot stretched into a 2-act play.

There were a few clever lines here and there. "I've been seeing him vaginally" stands out. There were some lame attempts at bringing modern politics to bear (occupy).

I've crossed off next weekend's final reading from my calendar. It needs far more work than the playwright (Jacob Marx Rice) has any idea about, judging from the questions he asked at the feedback session.

I won't say this was 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back, because I was part of a play development process, and one of the occupational hazards of going to a new play reading is the "not ready for prime time" thing.
Tags: review, theater

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