Nosedive Productions

www.nosediveproductions.com

presents

DYING GOLDFISH

By JAMES COMTOIS

 

Access Theatre,380 Broadway, NYC, May 5 – 28, 2005

 

Directed by PETE BOISVERT

Lighting Designer CHRIS DALY

Set Designer ALICE M. GOLDEN

Costume Designer LAUREN MICHIELL CAVANAUGH

Cast

Will – Jeremy Goren

Carol – Leslie E. Hughes

Steve – Patrick Shearer

Simone – Elizabeth Stewart

Margaret – Ree Davis

Don – Ed Knauer

Jim – John McCausland

Samantha – Cat Johnson

Ben – Christopher Yustin

Monica – Sabrina Howells

DYING GOLDFISH is full of awkward moments and unfinished business. With some graphic casual sex, an odd first date and a family wedding thrown into the mix, this play about emotional and intellectual detachment has plenty of premise and promise that are realized with only moderate success due to some troublesome technical issues and a general lack of dramatic punch.

As the play opens, siblings Carol and Will are at opposite sides of the stage, engaged in separate scenes that occur simultaneously. As Will flounders on a date at a bar, Carol moves from shots of tequila to sex with university colleague Steve quite seamlessly. The following day, Carol and Will are off on a road trip to their cousin’s wedding, and their conversation is an odd but realistic combination of dating woes, musical preferences and Uncle Jim’s unfortunate condition following a stroke. This is typical of the entirety of DYING GOLDFISH, where everything and everyone are peripheral to central characters Carol and Will. This means that however complex or however mundane the situations may be, we go through them together. This is interesting enough in the beginning, as we watch their nights take very different courses, but as events progress, we do feel that we are right along with them, in their parents living room, struggling to make conversation with an uncle who has lost the ability to control his emotions. It is the kind of place most of us will have found ourselves in at one time or another, but not one that is inviting or especially interesting to return to.

The story being what it is, I will add that the actors give DYING GOLDFISH their all and that the design team in general is enthusiastic in their presentations. Unfortunately, less would have been more with the sets. The design, and perhaps the budget, necessitates extensive movement of pieces like couches and beds onstage just inches away from scenes in progress. This could not help but be a distraction. Moreover, the realistic room settings were a nice touch, but need not have been so literally interpreted for the scenes to work aesthetically.

So, I guess DYING GOLDFISH ties up as the mixed bag of issues it sets out to present, but never conquer. A little too real to play out to a successful dramatic conclusion onstage, it does a good job of reminding us just how complicated, or perhaps how ordinary, life can get offstage.

- Kessa De Santis -

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