Amusing but unsatisfying, Bottomless gives us an inside look at two women you hope to never encounter in the dressing room.
Review by Elizabeth Devlin
The types of conversations you can overhear in women’s dressing rooms vary from the inane to the scandalous, and in Bottomless, a new play by Kellie Arens, we are offered both. The first act gives us the inside of the dressing room, where frustrated, unsuccessful actress Portia is trying to find the perfect pair of jeans. (A task that would, in reality, take not just 90 minutes but rather up to 90 days). She goes on about her obsession with her handsome, unmotivated boyfriend, while prattling about her career and her relationship with best friend Dolly, who is waiting on the other side of the dressing room curtain. She also takes a Hoodia diet pill every 5 minutes. While some of the observations about life and herself are amusing, the character is so self-absorbed you easily lose interest in her trials and tribulations.
The second act shows everything from Dolly’s point of view, with the exchanges between the friends remaining mostly the same, but we are spared most of Dolly’s humorous, but conceited, chatter. Instead, we are introduced to a multi-faceted character in Dolly, someone who is disturbed by past experiences which cripples her life and social relationships today. The juxtaposition between the friends’ airy chatter and the moments of darkness is not definitive enough to create sympathy for the characters, although it is difficult to tell whether this is a result of the acting or the writing.
If the play is meant to amuse, it could easily do that in a much more condensed version. If the goal is to have humor balance the serious emotional damage that Dolly (and on some level, Portia) has to deal with, those somber moments would need to feel more grounded.
Running through November 24, Bottomless will be performed at the Bowery Poetry Club, located at 308 Bowery, between Houston & Bleecker Streets. Show times are Saturdays at 8pm. Tickets are $18.00.
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.