Blue Surge

By Rebecca Gilman; Directed by Kat Vecchio

Off-Off Broadway, Play, Drama
Runs through 2.7.10
The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street, between Ave. A & Ave. B

It's a great play. This production, unfortunately, falls short of its material. Blue Surge was written by Rebecca Gilman and first produced in Chicago in 2001. It then premiered in New York at the Public Theatre in 2002. It tells the story of Curt, an honorable small-town cop, and his partner Doug, as they lead a botched raid on an illegal massage parlor and find themselves drawn to the two young hookers they meet there, Sandy and Heather. While Doug pursues a relationship with Heather, Curt attempts to save 19-year-old Sandy from prostitution. His actions threaten his job and his engagement to upper-class artist Beth.

What's not so good: The actors are either much too young or much too old for their roles and it hurts the play, in my opinion. Kurt (played by Pete Caslavka) is supposed to be a failing, defeatist 38-year old-cop, but the actor looks (and acts) about 10 years younger than that. Sandy, the young hooker who he wants to save, is supposed to be just out of high school and as the script describes her, 'young, thin, flat-chested, and not a knockout at all'. The actress, Lauren M. Nordvig, who was by far the most present and able of this cast, does not look like a teenager in the slightest, and she is completely lovely in every way. The fact that he is too young and put together and she is too old and beautiful makes the relationship far less interesting. What would and should have been a complex and intriguing will-they-or-won't-they dance between a 38 year old cop who can't make detective and a teenaged, unattractive hooker was instead a pastiche of twenty-something prime-time drama sweeps romance. And I won't venture near the other three actors, who were way too young to be playing these roles; I hardly engaged with them at all.

What's good: The script is wonderful with compelling, interesting characters and beautifully written dialogue. There are many charming moments onstage and despite age inappropriate casting, both Caslavka and Nordvig do quite a lot of excellent work. The show design across the board is also simple and functional, which I appreciated.

Please note: There is full male nudity.

(Blue Surge plays at The Wild Project, 195 East 3rd Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. Performances run through February 7, 2010, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $25 ($20 for students) and are available at or 212.868.4444. The running time is 2 hours, including one intermission.)