By Anna Ziegler; Directed by Margot Bordelon
Produced by The Playwrights Realm
Off Broadway, New Play
Runs through 9.12.15
Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street
by Shoshana Roberts on 8.27.15
Nick Westrate, Miriam Silverman, and Matt Dellapina in A Delicate Ship. Photo by Jenny Anderson.
BOTTOM LINE: An out of this world script with talented actors who can pull it off.
Who knows you best? Is it your boyfriend? Or perhaps, your best friend? When you are plagued with choosing one or the other, how do you decide? Both have their pros and cons. The dilemma is real for Sarah (Miriam Silverman) as she spends the evening with the two main men in her life. Holidays are sometimes a difficult time for people, but this seems different. With emotions and energy bouncing around the room who knows how the night will end.
Since childhood, Nate (Nick Westrate) and Sarah have been friends. Close friends. You can tell by how many inside jokes they have. Growing up in the same building was conducive to that close relationship. From made-up imaginary lands to laying in the grass together in college, Nate brings up vivid memories whenever he opens his mouth...which is all the time. He is thoughtful and his attention to detail is amazing, but this poetry obsessed educator always has to get the last word in, quite similarly to the third graders he teaches. Though the words he says are seemingly sweet, the condescension pours from his mouth most every time he opens it. It is a defense mechanism, though.
The darling Sarah, who captures everyone's hearts, has been in love with Sam (Matt Dellapina), her boyfriend of two months. It is actually Christmas Eve when Nate knocks on the door. Sam and Sarah are canoodling on the couch. As an honest observer Sam does his best to stay on the radar as Nate captures Sarah in delightful memories. Is the past real? She doesn't remember exactly, but Nate makes a point to remind her of absolutely everything that ties them together. As the three of them play games, drink, and analyze poetry it becomes clear that someone needs to leave. Is it the succinct and heartfelt Sam or the Peter-Pan childlike Nate? The past or the present? It is a game of who knows Sarah better, but it doesn't seem like anyone will win.
These actors truly make Anna, Sam, and Nate come alive. They are a force to be reckoned with. Silverman's expressions speak volumes. Dellapina's comedic timing is spot on. Westrate takes us on the journey of a lifetime. Playwright Anna Ziegler wrote compelling characters and the actors don't just run with them, they race to the finish line. Her wording gives such a momentum to the story with a range of topics that affected me in many ways. I contemplated the past. Is time really an illusion? This moment will eventually be labeled “many years ago.” Ziegler ironically captures these intangible ideas that she has the characters discussing.
Sadness and confusion and memories are intricately bound throughout A Delicate Ship. The hilarity that stems out of awkwardness is a spectacular construct that Ziegler captures. Paired with director Margot Bordelon's through-the-roof talent, this production, or rather this “ship,” not only got me across the ocean, but I enjoyed every second. All aboard!
(A Delicate Ship plays at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd Street, through September 12, 2015. Performances are Mondays through Saturdays at 7:30PM with special matinee performances on Friday, September 11th at 4pm and Saturday, September 12th at 2pm. Tickets are $25-$35 and are available at ticketcentral.com or by calling 212.279.4200.)