rogerandtom

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Photograph: Taylor Hooper
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Rogerandtom

rogerandtom. HERE (see Off Broadway). By Julien Schwab. Directed by Nicholas Cotz. With Eric T. Miller, Suzy Jane Hunt, Richard Thieriot. Running time: 1hr 10mins. No intermission.

rogerandtom: in brief

Julien Schwab's metacomedy, directed by Nicholas Cotz of Personal Space Theatrics, promises to reduce the fourth wall to dust.

rogerandtom: theater review by Jennna Scherer

There’s an unspoken contract you enter into when you cross the threshold of a theater: The stage is not for you to tread on. It’s a sacred space, a bubble universe held together by the collective illusion that for however long the play lasts, it is a separate reality. If rogerandtom doesn’t exactly pop this bubble, it at least makes us notice the skin of it. Events begin traditionally enough, with a domestic squabble between Penny (Hunt) and her husband, Rich (Thieriot). She calls her brother Roger, who is supposed to be meeting her to see a play written by their brother Tom, and a phone in the audience rings. Roger (Miller) comes down from his seat, irritated and confused. He has come here to watch a play, you see, written by his estranged brother, Tom.…

Penny’s apartment is like an apartment in a play: The walls don’t really exist, the beer bottles are empty. For her, it’s real; for Roger, it’s make-believe; for Rich, it’s both. What follows is a three-person existential juggling act that shifts between profundity and screwball yuks. In the wrong hands, or dragged out too long, this material would grate. But Schwab’s script is short and punchy, and director Nicholas Cotz and his cast sell it—particularly Hunt, who convincingly conveys the horror of discovering an audience behind your bedroom wall.

Rogerandtom gets a little high on its own supply toward the end; but this little metacomedy generates enough deep thought to put me in mind of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author—although this one might be better called One Author in Search of a Brother.—Theater review by Jenna Scherer

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Event phone: 212-352-3101
Event website: http://here.org

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Wannabe

The plot is light, the stakes are low, the set consists mainly of outlines of household objects -- it would seem that the last thing this production needed was acting parts that were difficult to perform. And yet the cast is so accomplished in their work, and their enthusiasm for the piece is so high that the disbelief vanishes and moments of pure magic ensue.