Theater review by Adam Feldman. The Wild Project (see the Off-Off List). By Kara Manning. Dir. Sam Buntrock. With Renata Friedman, Quentin Maré, Kellie Overbey. 1hr 40mins. No intermission.
Little goes unspoken in Kara Manning’s Sleeping Rough. The play’s three characters—a dead soldier’s grieving mother (Overbey), her estranged English husband (Maré) and their bee-keeping adult daughter (Friedman)—mostly express themselves in prolix soliloquies, rendered as verse in the script and largely delivered blank. No exposition goes unrepeated, no thematic point unsummarized, no other side of a phone conversation unparroted for the audience to hear (“No, I gave you the credit card number already.” … “No, I don’t want to charge anything on the card.” … “What do you mean you can’t tell me?”). Some respite comes in the few scenes in which the actors get to talk to one another, but under British director Sam Buntrock’s phlegmatic direction, only the wearily louche Maré sustains interest; indication and stupefaction otherwise prevail as the play ambles mawkishly on. Early in its intermissionless 100 minutes—as early, say, as 30 seconds in, when someone illustrates the term punk rock by strumming an invisible guitar—you may find yourself seeking somewhere else to look: the curved metal ceiling of Kris Stone’s set, Maré’s rumpled salt-and-pepper hair, the program. It’s rough, sleepy going.—Adam Feldman
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