Sunday, March 26, 2017

Off-Broadway Theater Review: Wakey, Wakey

Wakey, Wakey
Written and Directed by Will Eno
Signature Theatre Company
Extended through April 21

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
A man named Guy (Michael Emerson), who really is "every guy," is facing his own mortality. When we first meet Guy, he is in his PJs on the floor, when he gets a "wakey, wakey" call: he apparently has been given news that he is living his last days on earth. A calendar on the wall of Christine Jones' enigmatic set shows days being crossed off, if a morbid sort of countdown (cardboard boxes are strewn about the set).

 "Is it now," Guy asks several times throughout the 75-minute presentation.

In a flash (Nevin Steinberg, sound design and David Lander, lighting design), Guy is in a wheelchair, his condition obviously worse. He begins a monologue that is mostly stream of consciousness, speaking to the audience, though we're not quite sure why we are sitting in his room at what appears to be an end-of-life care facility, where he is helped eventually by a kind person named Lisa (January Lavoy).

The script contains some humor as well as some soul searching and thought provoking points:
  • Death is inevitable; we are always saying goodbye to someone. 
  • If we feel something like joy, where does that feeling go?
  • Whoever you are now is probably who you are going to be on your death bed, so make the most of every minute of every day to be the best person you can be.
  • Don't take anything for granted.
  • What's important in life is not what is lost, but what is still here.
What Are the Highlights?
Eno is a witty writer. Emerson (“Person of Interest,” “Lost”) conveys the humor as well as melancholy, giving us a portrait of a man trying to press up on the importance of what he has realized in the face of death and amidst frightening symptoms and the loss of control over his body.

Eno fans appeared to be in attendance laughing boisterously as lines that didn't seem all that funny.

What Are the Lowlights?
Some of the ramblings are vague and hard to follow. Even at only 75  minutes, I felt my mind wander. The woman next to me fell into a deep sleep.

More Information:
Wakey, Wakey has been extended at the Signature Center, 480 West 42nd St., NYC, through April 21. Tickets and Performance info: signaturetheatre.org.

Additional credits: 
Michael Krass (Costume Design), Peter Nigrini (Projection Design)

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- No content notes

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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