|Gia Crovatin and Elizabeth Masucci. Photo: Carol Rosegg|
About a Woman Named Sarah by Lucas Hnath
Breaking the Spell by Tina Howe
Series A Has the Best Up Front
By Lauren Yarger
Neil LaBute directs his funny look at competition with Good Luck (in Farsi), which pits two actresses on an audition against each other. Paige (Elizabeth Masucci) and Kate (Gia Crovatin) recognize each other from previous auditions when they show up to try out for a role as a CIA agent. They pretend to wish each other the best and to bond over things like people hating them because they are beautiful, but deep down, they are like two panthers circling each other for the kill.
Paige has had some success—a short-lived TV series, but Kate hasn’t, and worse, she is between agents. Paige promises to put her fellow "sister" actress in touch with her agent, but somehow manages never to come up with the number. Kate, who is part Persian, offers to help Paige with pronunciation of some of the audition script's Farsi dialogue, but that help might be as valuable as the agent’s still missing phone number.
“Good luck. You too” is the constant banter between the two, but neither sentiment is meant.
It’s a fun look at competition with sharp dialogue.
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The second short play up is About a Woman Named Sarah by Lucas Hnath. It depicts four meetings that took place when Sen. John McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate in the 2008 presidential election.
Meeting 1: Sarah (Marisa Viola) and McCain (Mark Elliot Wilson) meet. Broken sentences and thoughts are interrupted by some sort of clicking noise (Director Eric Hoff’s choice or written into the script, we’re not sure. What it means, we’re not sure either). Palin obviously is not McCain’s first choice.
Meeting 2: Sarah meets with McCain’s wife, Cindy (Stephanie Cannon), who also doesn’t like Sarah. She urges her not to accept the invitation should it come.
Meeting 3: McCain and his wife meet. Neither like Sarah, but she’s better than that “douche bag” Mitt Romney….
Meeting 4: Sarah and her husband, Todd (Ben Vigus) meet. Todd also is opposed to Sarah’s accepting the nomination, but she is determined.
There doesn’t seem to be much point to this play except to give the playwright lots of opportunities to call Palin stupid and to call Romney a douche bag. If it were a satire, we could laugh along, but it lacks purpose and humor and I kept thinking a funnier meeting would be between Hnath and Palin to see whether he’d be willing to call her stupid to her face.
The series closer is a whimsical tale from Tina Howe, Breaking the Spell. Here, A king (Michael Countryman) and a Poor Wretched Fool, known as PWF (Evan Shinners), watch over the princess Christobel (Crystal Finn), who fell into a deep sleep 100 years ago when an evil spell was cast. Thousands of kisses from princes (and other unpleasant things) have failed to wake her and time is running out for the kingdom. A musician, Antonio Abracci (Jesse Schenin), tries to work his magic with a saxophone, but will Christobel ever wake up? And will PWF ever get to be with his love?
This play, directed by Birgitta Victorson, has some funny moments, but mostly is puzzling. Characters speak in gibberish at times. In the end the most common audience question on the way out the door was, “What was that about?”