PEOPLE DIE THAT WAY
Written and Directed by LISA EBERSOLE
The Paradise Theater, 64 E. 4 St., NYC, February 19 – March 21, 2004
Stage Manager KEVIN SMART
Set Designer BARBARA MONOIAN
Sound Design ALEX SIMON
Publicity OPR/ORIGLIO PUBLIC RELATIONS
Liv – Monique Vukovic
Sam – Dahl Colson
Megan – Lisa Ebersole
Rhonda – Rhonda Keyser
Daniel – Ken Forman
Too much of the dialogue, the very heart and soul of a play performed in real time called PEOPLE DIE THAT WAY, feels cryptic and abbreviated. It is as if we were watching an extended, combined exercise in character development where the implied subtext is known to the actors, but not to the audience, but where in a full production, these unknowns would be realized through normal plot development.
In terms of what can loosely be termed "action" we in the audience sit in our own real time for what seems like a slight eternity watching the five characters of PEOPLE DIE THAT WAY wait in a Greyhound station for a bus headed to Boston. We wait, we watch a couple wait, we wait, the couple takes a walk, we wait, another couple arrives, they discuss cats, a woman arrives, she knows the woman in the couple, they wait, we wait, they eat pizza, people come and go, the first couple returns, they know the single woman, they wait, we wait, there is much bickering and unspecified anger, they wait, we wait, the bus arrives, The End.
Since I usually enjoy the plays produced at Paradise Theater and presented by Tom Noonan I am surprised that the choice was made to mount PEOPLE DIE THAT WAY as it is. It is offbeat, as is much of the theater presented there, and features the talents of promising actors like Monique Vukovic, but there is just not enough there to make the waiting matter. These folks are just not that likeable overall, and I for one did not much care what happened to them beyond the bus station. Their individual and partnership issues hinted at good conflict, but without the real deal, my interest wandered quickly, and most assuredly, toward the nearest exit.
So, please, do not confuse the waiting game here for a play like Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT. There are no higher truths to be found in PEOPLE DIE THAT WAY. There are not even heightened perceptions.
- Kessa De Santis -