By Paul Weitz; Directed by Christopher Campbell-Orrock
Produced by West of 10th
Off Off Broadway, Play Revival
Ran through 1.22.17
The Jewel Box Theater, 312 West 36th Street
by Helen Herbert on 1.24.17
Adam Maggio and Rachel Goodgal in Lonely, I'm Not.
BOTTOM LINE: Connection is lost at times in this pared-down romantic comedy revival.
Porter (Adam Maggio), a former Wall Street golden boy, has little left to wake up for in the morning. Four years after a public nervous breakdown that ended his finance career, Porter finds himself divorced, unemployed and wasting his days lying on his living room floor. He is utterly unmotivated and lacks support to get himself back on track: his father, Rick (Andrew Hamling), is a small-time con artist who only visits when he needs backing for his next scam. Porter also can’t seem to shake his ex-wife (Hannah Yi) who enjoys his unhappiness and stops by for occasional post-breakup sex. When Porter’s friend, the unusually named Little Dog (Leon Morgan), sets him up on a blind date with his colleague Heather (Rachel Goodgal), Little Dog neglects to mention that Heather is legally blind. Heather, who possesses a fierce sense of independence and sharp wit to match, is the first to point out her disability by joking, “Let the blind date jokes commence.” They hit it off and find a connection in being outsiders in the world, but when Porter is late to meet Heather’s mother (Margaret Curry) for the first time, their personal struggles come to the forefront and compromise the future of their relationship.
Lonely, I’m Not first premiered in New York at Second Stage Theatre in 2012 and focuses on the pressure of public success in a society seemingly void of genuine personal connection. Further, the struggle of a woman in the workplace, much less one with a disability, strikes an enormously relevant chord in the current political climate. Playwright Paul Weitz has written a number of plays that have been produced Off Broadway and is best known for co-directing the films American Pie and About A Boy with his brother, Chris Weitz. With that in mind, it's no surprise that Lonely, I’m Not has a rapid, cinematic format, with quick (sometimes two-line) scenes cutting right to another scene in a totally different locale. While this does keep the action moving, it also creates a slick, choreographed quality where actors break character to strike their props and scramble to set up for the next scene. Unfortunately, the effect pulls you out of the story each time and prevents the audience from fully engaging with the characters.
The cast gives energetic performances and Goodgal is especially affecting as Heather. She gracefully handles the physical obstacle with a remarkable sense of normalcy that allows Heather’s other attributes to shine through. Maggio is likeable as the self-deprecating Porter, balancing scenes of deep-seated self-destruction with openhearted earnestness. Their scenes together are the highlight of the production. Director Christopher Campbell-Orrock does well focusing the fast-paced action in the small space of the Jewel Box Theater, as well as drawing out some lively performances from the supporting cast. The minimalist set by Wesley Cornwall and simple lighting by Joshua Langman help to break up the playing space and suggest differences in the various settings.
West of 10th is a small burgeoning company, mainly composed of current and former students of the Barrow Group. While the company is only about a year old, Lonely, I’m Not is their third fully-staged production. They deserve kudos for hitting the ground running with such great momentum.
(Lonely, I’m Not ran at the Jewel Box Theater, 312 West 36th Street, through January 22, 2017. The running time was 90 minutes, with no intermission. Performances were Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 8; Saturday at 2 and 8; and Sunday at 8. Tickets were $18. For more information visit westof10th.com.)
Lonely, I’m Not is by Paul Weitz. Directed by Christopher Campbell-Orrock. Co-Producers are Rachel Goodgal and Jen Sandler. Set and Properties Design is by Wesley Cornwell. Lighting Design is by Joshua Langman. Costume Design is by TJ Burleson. Sound Design is by Patrick Lachance. Production Stage Manager is Chandalae Nyswonger.
The cast is Margaret Curry, Rachel Goodgal, Andrew Hamling, Adam Maggio, Leon Morgan, and Hannah Yi.