By Daniel Libman; Directed by Wayne Maugans
Produced by Voyage Theater Company
Off Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 5.24.14
Clurman Theater at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street
by Adrienne Urbanski on 5.11.14
Michael Brusasco and Margot White in Intermission. Photo by Jon Leong.
BOTTOM LINE: The script's comedic scenes and surprise twists make this an enjoyable play to watch.
In Voyage Theater Company's production of Daniel Libman’s new play, Intermission, a sexually conflicted wife stages a play based on her own life experience, giving herself the happy ending she is hoping for, although reality turns out to be far more complicated than she anticipated. Lori (Margot White) and her husband Blake (Michael Brusasco) are at the opening night of a new play by an anonymous playwright , a play within the play entitled "Intromission," which seems to mirror the plot of Intermission itself. Blake is underwhelmed and is looking for a distraction in the form of either whiskey or sexual attention from Lori. She shuts down both options and repeatedly pushes away Blake when he becomes overly flirtatious, hinting at their lackluster sex life. Their conversation is rather slow paced until Lori’s friend Gabe (Carol Todd), who may or may not be a lesbian, arrives with Tina (Jessica Griffin), who may or may not be Gabe’s date. The pace picks up when Blake makes his attraction to Tina obvious. His confusion over the sexual situation and orientations of Gabe and Tina creates several highly laughable comedic moments, including one clever scene in which Blake mistakes the squash club where Tina and Gabe met for a swingers sex club.
Towards the end of the play it shifts in tone as we discover that Lori is actually the anonymous playwright who penned the play, in the hopes of showing her husband the truth as it played out on stage with fictional characters and actors. However when Lori faces the reality of making the choice she thought she wanted she finds the decision to not be as easy as she had hoped. (I’ll leave my synopsis intentionally vague here as part of the play’s appeal is how truly unpredictable the play’s twists turn out to be.)
Overall, Libman has created a truly enjoyable script that feels fresh even as it deals with subject matter that has been tackled on stage before. While a few of the events seem a bit implausible, Libman seems to be aware of his own shortcomings, with Blake declaring that the play within the play is far too implausible.
Margot White is especially skilled in pulling off the play’s more dramatic moments, making her confusion and sadness come through as authentic and nuanced. Michael Brusasco and Jessica Griffin make the most of the play’s humorous dialogue, maximizing the laughter produced by each joke. Intermission may have its slower moments (and be a smidge unlikely at times) but overall it has plenty of well written comedic moments and surprise dramatic twists that make it a show worth attending.
(Intermission plays at The Clurman Theater, 410 West 42nd Street, through May 24, 2014. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8PM; and Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are $18 and are available at telecharge.com or by calling 212.239.6200.)