By Charles Cissel; Directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman
Produced by Bruce Willis and the Burgess Group
Off Broadway, Play
Runs through 11.19.17
The Theater at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street
by Linda Buchwald on 11.6.17
Brendan Dooling and Meredith Antoian in Must. Photo by Michael Kushner.
BOTTOM LINE: With Must, Charles Cissel tries to offer a new kind of Billy the Kid story.
Bruce Willis must (no pun intended) be a good friend. Apparently, he signed on to produce Must because of his long friendship with the playwright, Charles Cissel. However, a better friend might have helped him develop the play further. For a Wild West play, there is little in the way of excitement or action.
Playwright Charles Cissel deserves some credit for taking a risk and writing a reflective play about the famous outlaw Billy the Kid, rather than an action adventure. Since little is known about the Kid, Cissel tries to get inside his mind right before his death at age 21. The show is made up of scenes of Billy (Brendan Dooling) reflecting back on his life, alternating between scenes with his mother (Sally Ann Triplett), father (Mark Elliot Wilson), lover (Meredith Antoian), and killer, Sheriff Pat Garrett (John Clarence Stewart).
It can be hard to follow these scenes. At times, it feels like Cissel used magnetic poetry to write the script, stringing words together without creating a narrative. I didn't feel like I knew anything more about Billy the Kid after the play then when I took my seat. Gabriel Vega Weissman doesn't help matters with her static staging, frequently having the actors look at the audience instead of each other when conversing.
The main reason to see this play is if you are a fan of any of the actors. And at only about 60 minutes, it doesn't require too much of a time commitment. Most of the performances start at 7 and are over a little after 8.
(Must plays at The Theater at St. Clement's, 423 West 46th Street, through November 19, 2017. The running time is 60 minutes with no intermission. Performances are Mondays at 7; Wednesdays through Fridays at 7; Saturdays at 2 and 7; and Sundays at 3. Tickets are $45.50-65.60. For tickets and more information visit musttheplay.com or call 866-811-4111.)
Must is by Charles Cissel. Directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman. Set Design is byAlexander Woodward. Lighting Design is by Zach Blane. Costume Design Brooke Cohen Brown. Sound Design is by Emma Wilk. Production Stage Manager is Jessi Cotter.
The cast is Meredith Antoian, Brendan Dooling, John Clarence Stewart, Sally Ann Triplett, and Mark Elliot Wilson.