|Josh Hamilton and Jenna Fischer in a scene from MCC Theater’s Reasons to Be Happy © Joan Marcus|
By Neil LaBute
Directed by Neil LaBute
MCC Theater Company
at the Lucille Lortel Theater
What's It All About?
It's the continuation of the story of the two couples we met in LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty: Greg (Josh Hamilton) and Steph (Jenna Fischer of TV's "The Office") and Carly (Leslie Bibb) and Ken (Fred Weller of TV's "In Plain Sight"). It is three years after Greg and Steph have divorced. She's remarried, but isn't happy when she finds out he is seeing her best friend, Carly. Carly's ex, Kent, isn't happy either. He is still dealing with anger issues and seeing someone else, but refers to Carly as his wife. She's really falling for Greg, though. He is thoughtful and trustworthy -- two characteristics she never enjoyed in her relationship with Kent, who barely shows interest in their daughter. Steph decides she wants to give her marriage with Greg another shot, however, dumps her husband and waits for Greg to break the news to Carly. At first Greg agrees, but complications give him second thoughts.
What are the Highlights:
One of the few instances of a playwright doing a decent job of directing his own work. Blaring, heavy-metal music (Robert Kaplowitz, sound design) helps change the scenes -- and reminds us that hurt, anger and pain lie just under the surface of these relationships. I hadn't realized until the curtain went up on this piece how much I was interested to find out what had happened to these couples. There's room for third final chapter too: Reasons to be 50 and I hope La Bute writes it.
Loved the set (Neil Patel, design), which switches from the break room at the plant where Carly still works (Kent makes deliveries from another plant now and Greg, who used to work at the plant and who now is a substitute teacher, picks her up there) and other locations.
What are the Lowlights?
None. Catch it before it closes.
Reasons to Be Happy has been extended through June 29 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St., NYC. Performances: June 27-28 at 8 pm and June 29th at 2 and 8 pm. Tickets: $69-$89: www.mcctheater.org; 212-352-3101.
Christians might also like to know:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Sexual dialogue