Midtown International Theater Festival

and

Small Pond Entertainment

present

THE CONJUGALITY TEST

By MICHAEL LAZAN

Where Eagles Dare, 347 W. 36 St., NYC

July 22 – August 3, 2007

 

Directed by DAVID GAUTSCHY

Scenic Design ANN BARTEK

Sound Design DAVID GAUTSCHY and GEOFF KNIGHT

Light Design DANIEL WALDRON

Stage Manager LACI KNIGHT

Public Relations and Publicity SCOTTI RHODES

Cast

David – Greg Thornton

Bernice – Shaun Bennett Wilson

Louis – Warren Katz

Baba – Amanda Sayle

Debs – Jacqueline Sydney

The fare at theater festivals can be decidedly hit-or-miss, with the trend, often, to showcase the experimental, edgy and up-and-coming if notably flawed works of the myriad creative parties jockeying for a position on the New York stage. In such an arena, THE CONJUGALITY TEST is a welcome, witty, well-cast surprise. About family, fidelity and tests of faith, this wordy romp through the dissolution of an Upper West Side enclave is worth a second thought.

The plot revolves around an intellectual, 50-year-old insurance salesman, David, who meets a flirtatious young woman, Bernice, at a bar. He notices the woman is unreasonably "attracted" to him, and surmises that his common-law wife of 28 years, Debs, has hired Bernice to test his fidelity. The accusations begin to fly, David and Debs become estranged, and their daughter, Baba, and David’s father, Louis, soon descend into dreams of running from the family home.

In one respect, THE CONJUGALITY TEST could seem pompous and postured. Filled with characters musing on Nietzsche an the merits of marriage who talk as if they were debating in the halls of a self-righteous college dorm, the play is engaging, perhaps in spite of itself, and definitely due to the ensemble cast. The scene changes are a little awkward, with the cast moving two set pieces that serve alternately as a bar, bookcases, and packed boxes, but that is what one comes to expect from festival fare.

I won’t spoil the surprise by revealing who hired Bernice, or whether she is successful in ensnaring the subject of THE CONJUGALITY TEST. I will say, though, that I enjoyed the journey.

- Kessa De Santis -

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