A Delicate Ship: Theater review by Sandy MacDonald
We all have our romantic what-ifs—doors that slid shut not by chance but by choice. It’s easy to rationalize each rift in retrospect. But what if a person holds on, long past any reasonable hope? Playwright Anna Ziegler posits such a die-hard in Nate (Nick Westrate), a self-romanticizing dancer-writer and third-grade teacher who, on a manic high, zeroes in on his lifelong friend Sarah (Miriam Silverman) as the answer to his midthirties existential crisis. Never mind that she’s now enamored of a singer-songwriter/philosopher/paralegal (Matt Dellapina, weedy with a dash of mensch). Having matured beyond the multihyphenate phase (she’s a social worker, though “not particularly social”), she’s remarkably—worrisomely—tolerant of Nate’s increasingly aggressive attempts to re-woo her.
Were Ziegler (who makes origami of time) not so deft, the situation might lend itself to sitcom banality. She digs beneath the laughs, of which there are plenty, to plumb the pain that lurks below.—Sandy MacDonald
Peter J. Sharp Theater (Off Broadway). By Anna Ziegler. Directed by Margot Bordelon. With Matt Dellapina, Miriam Silverman, Nick Westrate. Running time: 1hr 15 mins. No intermission.