Off The Leesh Productions
Help Me Help Myself:
The New York Guide to Love, Fame, Fortune and Everything You've Ever Dreamt of in 30 Days or Less
By Jenna Bans
Looking Glass Theatre, 422 W. 57 St., NYC, November 9 –19, 2005
Directed by Matthew G. Rashid
Lighting Design PAUL FRYDRYCHOWSKI
Costume Design JESSICA JAHN
Production Design DIANA WHITTEN
Press Representative SPRINGER ASSOCIATES PR
Jessica Arinella - Marina Kotovnikov - Joffre Myers
Matthew G. Rashid - Julie Tortorici
HELP ME HELP MYSELF is a sort of spoof on the culture that embraces the quick fix, self help approach to dealing with life, love and success. Not an issue particular to New York, the play is set in the big apple, and so, revolves around some local neurotics and the philosophy meant to tame them.
Written by Jenna Bans, a story editor for Desperate Housewives, HELP ME HELP MYSELF is full of friendly fodder and anxious characters with their own, lesser desperations to contend with. Unfortunately, none of their struggles is especially compelling, and the situations lack the wit and irony that an audience hooked on Housewives would expect. When viewed independently from the television series, as it should be, the play is pure diversion. It is not food for thought so much as it is an opportunity to eavesdrop on a performer/waitress, a writer in search of personal psychosis, a make-up artist to the recently deceased, a former child star, and a stoner who just goes where he is needed.
The production values are simple, but suitable. The actors appear to be working hard to become their characters, with limited success. Somehow, the laughs that should come from the audience never do. Listening to the script, the humor is clear, but the presentation does not synch with comedic timing, leaving the impression that HELP ME HELP MYSELF is far less funny than it is meant to be
Jenna Bans’ connection to a very popular television show will likely draw the curious to HELP ME HELP MYSELF. Nice if it gets people in the seats, but the play should be viewed as an independent entity, and not an extension of the series. A 75 minute search into the lives of some quirky New Yorkers, this one won’t make you think too hard.
- Kessa De Santis -