Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
By LUCY THURBER
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place, NYC, www.rattlestick.org
March 11 through April 15, 2007
Directed by JACKSON GAY
Scenic Design ERIK FLATMO
Costumes JENNY MANNIS
Lighting Design SCOTT BOLMAN
Sound Design DANIEL BAKER
Original Music AAON MEICHT
Press Representation O&M ORIGLIO/MIRAMONTEZ CO.
Jenny Maguire – Floating Girl
Sam Rosen – Tommy
Thomas Sadoski – Billy
Maggie Siff – Rachel
Jess Weixler – Julia
Lucy Thurber’s STAY is one of those quirky, intense, but ultimately indecisively drawn dramas that hovers somewhere between the real and the ethereal without letting the audience know, with any clarity, where reality lies. Set on a university campus, and focused on a professor with writer’s block who confronts her demons most personally once she begins to be stalked by one of her students, the play goes in some unexpected directions.
The young professor is a published writer of some note named Rachel. Her doppelganger/wannabe paramour, Julia, is a twisted, dark and manipulative character who seems willing to stop at nothing to be by Rachel’s side. So, in a series of scenes, Julia just walks into Rachel’s apartment. The door is never locked! Hmmm. Is this a clue into Rachel’s psyche, that she invites danger and chaos into her home even though she protests at every appearance Julia makes?
Added to the mix called STAY is Rachel’s troubled brother, Billy, Julia’s lapdog boyfriend, Tommy, and an angel who visits Rachel, known only as Floating Girl. An interesting mix of personalities, and one that makes for some polished exchanges and notable scenes. Unfortunately, except for maybe Floating Girl who does little more than race around the set laughing and singing, none of the characters is especially likable. Rachel, Billy and Julia in particular display or recount some of their basest behavior during the course of the action, and it can get very ugly indeed.
On a bigger budget, the visual that the design team is going for would have been better realized. The appearance of Floating Girl is often paired with flickering light, and even with an overwhelming infusion of light. A good job is done to create the effect, but likely not the life-altering experience that author Thurber imagines her characters to be experiencing.
STAY is thought-provoking, but in the end more the kind of play that leaves you with a parenthetical wonder at the meaning of the message rather than one that evokes a light-bulb moment of revelation. But, maybe that’s the point!
- Kessa De Santis -