By Gregg Greenberg; Directed by Michael Rispoli
Part of the 2018 New York International Fringe Festival
Off Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 10.25.18
FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street
by Shoshana Roberts on 10.21.18
BOTTOM LINE: When a Wall Street man makes an offer on their farm, two brothers must overcome their differences to decide if they want to continue making maple syrup or pursue other dreams.
Familial relationships can be all over the map—DNA might connect us, but sometimes a relationship is too toxic to continue. Saps ventures into this territory of a struggle between two brothers who find themselves at odds over a multitude of choices in Gregg Greenberg's cute four-person play.
“It’s Maple Season!” Michael “Munch” McKenna (Robert Homer Mollohan) bellows for the world to hear. Little does he know that his current vim and vigor about the upcoming cool weather, perfect for tapping the McKenna brothers’ 800 maple trees in upstate New York, will be short-lived. Obstacles galore end up making their way into the lives of Munch and his brother Charles “Chuck” McKenna (Bryan Dromerhauser). There are lingering issues, like Chuck’s past drug addiction and the fact that Munch gave up his music career when their parents died. Newer challenges include their Manhattan business partner Linda Braverman (Holly Horner), who may or may not be manipulating the brothers’ feelings, and Jeremy “Remy” Segal (Arthur Aulisi), who wants to buy the McKennas’ land. Each of these tough choices threaten to tear the brothers apart as they constantly disagree and bicker.
Greenberg incorporates some fantastically specific items into his script, like a description of the science behind tapping trees, and these are the most memorable moments. Where Saps gets into trouble is with the general. Remy is pretty much a stereotypical businessman from the city, rather than a unique entity. The same goes for Chuck and his addiction—instead of a well-trod caricature of a young man in recovery, it would be great if Greenberg could find a way to make this healing mountain man his own person.
This cast succeeds in moments where they can explore the individuality of these characters, like when Linda compares her alcohol choices to her current location, wanting scotch in nature. Saps does manage to fit quite a lot in less than two hours, with guitar playing, fighting, and countless mentions of the word “titties.” (I could have turned their mention of breasts into a drinking game.) With the journey between joy, awkwardness, and frustration, each of these characters displays the concept that we don’t always get what we want, and that we shouldn’t let our emotions blind us.
(Saps plays at FringeHUB, 685 Washington Street at Charles Street, through October 25, 2018. Meet at the SILVER FringeNYC flag. The running time is 1 hour 45 minutes. Performances are Fri 10/12 at 9:15, Sun 10/14 at 3:15, Thu 10/18 at 9:15, Sun 10/21 at 1, and Thu 10/25 at 7. 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 saps-theplay.com.)
Saps is by Gregg Greenberg. Directed by Michael Rispoli. Lighting/Sound/Props Technician is Charles Casano. Additional Set Design by Arthur Aulisi.
The cast is Robert Homer Mollohan, Bryan Dromerhauser, Holly Horner, and Arthur Aulisi.