By Ally Sass; Directed by Elizabeth Callahan
Part of the 2018 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 10.28.18
FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street
by Zachary Conner on 10.24.18
Late Night at The Serpent.
BOTTOM LINE: A raging blizzard forces two men to confront their unlikely connection.
When you think of “porn shop,” your mind may go to the dark and seedy—a seemingly depraved collection of human desires designed to be thumbed over by those sad individuals, desperate to connect, who find refuge in fantastical displays of erotica. However, what if a porn shop could be more than that? What if such a store could be the crucible of confronting one’s past, and walking away more aware of who you are? Playwright and producer Ally Sass presents a study of this idea in her new play Late Night at The Serpent.
Taking place over the course of a single evening in blizzard-slammed Nashua, New Hampshire, Late Night at The Serpent first introduces us to Ian (Joseph Dalfonso), the general manager of The Serpent, an adult entertainment store. As Ian tends to his colorful merchandise, Pat (Trevor van Uden), a seemingly random patron, rushes in from the growing blizzard in an attempt to find something to help “warm” him up a little. The two strike up a conversation, and something about their interaction suggests they are well acquainted. As it becomes clear that Pat must wait out the storm in the store, the play delves deeper into the mysterious connection, ultimately resulting in an interesting, yet somewhat predictable, climax. There’s no doubt that both men walk away changed, but it’s unclear whether that change is for the better.
Individually, Van Uden and Dalfonso give solid performances, but in a play that hangs on a complicated but incredibly human sense of longing, it’s a shame there isn't more chemistry between the two actors. So while the premise of Late Night at The Serpent is an interesting one, the play ultimately falls a little flat. It’s true the play gives insight into the less common side of what is an extremely topical subject (to mention this subject outright might give too much away), and so Late Night at The Serpent should be commended for that effort. But because this subject is so topical, the story, especially in 2018, does not feel wholly original, nor does it confront the audience with an urgent need to ponder these themes after leaving the theatre.
(Late Night at The Serpent plays at FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street at Charles Street, through October 28, 2018. Meet at the PURPLE FringeNYC flag. The running time is 40 minutes. Performances are Sun 10/21 at 8:15, Mon 10/22 at 7:30, Thu 10/25 at 7:30, Sat 10/27 at 9:30, and Sun 10/28 at 2:30. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $22 (plus $3.69 ticketing fee), $16 (plus $3.51) for seniors, and are ONLY available online at fringenyc.org. For more information visit latenightattheserpent.com.)
Late Night at The Serpent is by Ally Sass. Directed by Elizabeth Callahan. Stage Manager is Alex Dunker.
The cast is Trevor van Uden and Joseph Dalfonso.