Fat Chance Productions

Artistic Director, Robin Whitehouse * Executive Director, Ben Hodges

and

Monday Morning Productions

Artistic Director, Jason Cicci * Director of Development, Laura Hagan

present

CLOSET CHRONICLES

By ERIC R. PFEFFINGER

 

Ground Floor Theatre

312 W. 11 St., NYC

Tickets: (212) 352-3101 or www.theatermania.com

www.fatchanceproductions.org, www.mondaymorningproductions.com

 

October 10 – November 2, 2003

 

Directed by BEN HODGES

Lighting JULIET CHIA

Sets DAVID ESLER

Sound DENNIS MICHAEL KEEFE

Stage Manager KAREN MUNKEL

Press Representative KAREN GRECO ENTERTAINMENT

 

Cast

George – Brandon Malone

Agatha – Emilie Madison

Ed – Richard Leighton

Nancy – Marilyn Sokol

Dr. Lester Niemark – Jason Cicca

Wes – Ben Hersey

Fat Chance Productions and Monday Morning Productions have joined forces to present the New York City debut of Eric R. Pfeffinger’s comedy, CLOSET CHRONICLES, at the intimate Ground Floor Theatre. With a cast that includes award winning actress Marilyn Sokol, and a plot that begins with a son announcing that he is gay over Thanksgiving dinner, could the laughs be far behind? Yes, and no.

Narrated by a teenaged sibling (Emilie Madison as Agatha), CLOSET CHRONICLES tells the tale of older brother George’s coming out, and the subsequent reaction of his immediate family. In the case of George, he reveals his homosexuality with the standard, "Mom, dad, I’m gay." Pretty to the point, or at least it should be, but then there is the narration. Agatha’s main function here, in addition to rounding out the nuclear family, seems to be to retell some of the pivotal scenes from different perspectives, with different dialogue. The narrative is meant to make the story from her perspective. Okay. Why? Her viewpoint is neither enlightening nor more interesting than that of the audience watching the action unfold. As a device, I found it unnecessary and intrusive. It did not, however, destroy the plot, and there was still a heap of amusement squeezed from this now familiar theme.

Here, the laughs come from the other outings that result from the initial one. The parents, in a series of failed attempts to change their son, understand their son, accept him and bond with him, make silly choices and still sillier comments. In the course of their many attempts to connect we learn of hidden fetishes. As part of CLOSET CHRONICLES we even find a lover hiding in a closet. Yet another outing. We find a "straight" man who really is not hiding in this same closet. We learn that the seemingly apathetic sister has ambitions of her own. Some funny, some not, and some that work, when others do not, these are the major plot points at play.

Aside from the flaws, this mounting of CLOSET CHRONICLES features some very polished details. Ben Hodges’ mindful direction never overlooks the limited performance space. The cozy set, impressively designed by David Esler, makes this same small space feel like a real, lived in, family home. The cast does pretty well too. As the mom and dad, Marilyn Sokol and Richard Leighton get the real gravy as far as good lines and silly situations go. Jason Cicci, as a kooky doctor at a clinic called "Gay-No-More" turns in a brief, but memorable performance. Ben Hersey’s Wes is unlikable in an indeterminate way, but he is supposed to be. Then there are the siblings, perhaps the most restrained and least vocal of all the characters, as portrayed by Brandon Malone and Emilie Madison.

So, a new comedy? Yes. A flawed comedy? Yes. Harmless, escapist diversion? Yes. CLOSET CHRONICLES? In and out of the closet, and here for a limited run.

- Kessa De Santis -

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