Reviewed by Kristyn R Smith
Committed is a compilation of three one act plays. According to the press, the theme concerns relationships, though I wouldn't have made that assessment based on what I saw. I didn't find these three one acts particularly complementary but I think it this case, that's a good thing. The skill in writing and acting is just as diverse as the plays themselves.
The first one act entitled, Men are Pigs, set the bar quite high. There isn't any new ground covered here but that didn't matter because the journey is so enjoyable. This, the only play clearly about relationships, concerns three guys evolution from eager adolescents to scheming twenty somethings and how they change their approach to women. What a good time. All your favorite bad songs, goofy hairstyles, and hideous clothes of the early 90s are here for your viewing and listening pleasure. Not to mention the clever, insightful and truly funny script. The acting too is top notch. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.
The second show, Off the Cuff, was by far the weakest. The analogy to Caryl Churchill made in the press release is not the only falsity. The actors mug as they stumble across the stage pretending to be drunk. You can almost hear them chuckling to themselves, clearly aware that they're supposed to be funny. In addition, the pacing was terrible. This is a comedy after all. Specifically in this incarnation, its intention is dark, repetitive and farcical, certainly not the ingredients for dramatic pauses. By the time they got to the punchline, I already knew what would be said. Simply put, there was no surprise, no tension, and no fun.
On to the third show. Largely forgettable, at times contrite, and yet by no means unbearable, Boxes, concerns a lower class family in Ireland struggling to get by and keep their dignity. The actors do their best to put some real emotions into this preachy script, but even the most focused audience member loses interest about half way through. The catalyst for conflict between the brother and sister is based on nothing more than flimsy arguments, which are discussed far too long. In the end, you're just glad they've decided to finally do something.
I think that's a similar sentiment to the overall evening experience. You're glad you did something, but it would have been nicer to enjoy it a little more. If at least two out of the three shows were good that would have been the case. But even if Men are Pigs, they don't justify the other 70 minutes of boredom.
Lion Theater on Theater Row
410 West 42nd Street
(between 9th and 10th)
Available by calling 212-279-4200
or visit www.ticketcentral.com
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.