By Israela Margalit; Directed by John Clancy
Produced by Horse Trade Theater and Moonlight Theatre
Off Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 8.5.14
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place
by Adrienne Urbanski on 7.22.14
Wei-Yi Lin and Paul Romano in Get Me a Guy. Photo by Alexander Fabozzi.
BOTTOM LINE: This play consists of comedic vignettes, all of which center on the challenges women face in dating. While the majority of them are hilarious and inventive, some of them fall flat.
The hardships heterosexual women face in the dating scene in New York are certainly not a new topic of theatrical exploration, but Horse Trade Theater and Moonlight Theatre’s production of Get Me a Guy presents this subject in a new, fresh feeling way: comical vignettes all on the complications women face trying to reach their sexual and romantic goals. The hour and a half run time of this play is filled with short unconnected glimpses into differing comical dating/love related scenarios.
In the opening skit a woman (Wei-Yi Lin) explains to a suitor that attraction is a complex thing and that his combination of attributes does not equate arousal for her, despite his seeming lack of flaws. Later, in one of the show's most inventive skits, Lin and actor Paul Romano play husband and wife and tiredly hump into the air, miming the act of dull, mechanical sex as the wife explains that they have to have sex as much as possible in the same missionary position so that she can get pregnant. She begins to discuss out loud her future pregnancy and her child, realizing that even if she achieves pregnancy and creates her desired daughter only new disappointments and complications will most likely follow. In another, a young woman (Elizabeth Galalis) spies a desirable guy (Brennan Lowery) at her friend's -- and would be suitor's -- office party, but frets that flirting with him would upset and embarrass her friend. After much dramatic worrying, she gets his phone number only to find out that her dream guy actually has the voice of a woman.
Thankfully, playwright Israela Margalit was wise enough to not focus solely on the plight of marriage and baby-ready women who just can't nail down Mr. Right, and also includes a couple of skits in which men are shown to face struggles. These struggles however seem to mostly exist due to their obsessions and finding faults in any woman they cross paths with. In one, Romano plays an obsessive man who calls up an old crush without having seen her for a decade so that he can find closure, claiming undying love for her. The woman challenges his supposed love by intentionally making herself look fatter and dumpier, to prove that his obsession was never anything more than superficial. In another Lin and Romano (who play off each other well) play two friends, and Romano as a nebbish, Woody Allen-esque doctor complains to his friend that no woman will ever be right for him.
The play's skits are punctuated by a song and dance number in which the female cast members sing to the male cast members about how disappointing dating is with all its "drama" when all they want is a man to "make me a mama." As they complain about the many flaws of the men who had the nerve to reject them, they shrug it off with the explanation that, "it's a male buyers' market."
Get Me a Guy often had the audience in stitches, and did so in part thanks to the comedic talent of the cast, especially Wei-Yi Lin, Paul Romano, and Elizabeth Galalis. Many of the skits are also inventively staged by John Clancy in a manner that visually makes the actions more compelling to the audience. However, while about an hour’s worth of the skits are clever and funny, the remainder are a bit flat and lose momentum. While the complaints expressed by the women in the show are certainly nothing new, Margalit offers some new scenarios in which to explore them. The show’s reoccurring rhyming song and dance number is cute, but three times feels a bit excessive especially when nothing new is revealed each time it is performed. Cutting out a few of the scenes or reworking them would improve this play and not detract focus from its moments of hilarity and insight. Despite its flaws, I found much in Get Me a Guy that made me double over laughing and question our society’s dating rituals.
(Get Me a Guy plays at UNDER St Marks, 93 St Marks Place, through August 5, 2014. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7PM; and Sundays at 2PM and 7PM. Tickets are $18 and are available at smarttix.com or by calling 212.868.4444.)