RealistsHERE, Off Off Broadway
BOTTOM LINE: This dark comedy about greed and desperation hits many familiar notes, but its international setting and brisk pace make it a satisfying experience.
When I received the invitation to review a new work by a playwright from Serbia, I asked a friend whose husband was born and raised there to join me. Throughout the performance, I heard her chuckling. “I guess that struck a chord with you, huh?” I asked her as the lights came up. “Yeah, a lot of chords,” she replied.
Written by Jelena Kagjo, whose work has been produced throughout Europe, Realists takes place in modern-day Belgrade, Serbia's capital city. It follows a group of upwardly mobile thirtysomethings, obsessed with career, money, and the trappings of success. Act I takes place in an office, where a psychotherapist counsels one patient who flatly denies there’s anything wrong (despite having had a stress-related seizure at work) and another who wallows in her anxiety and depression. Of course, the therapist has his own problems. In Act II, two old “friends” and their respective husbands meet for dinner in a glamorous apartment where the wine flows freely and everybody gets very friendly indeed.