Saturday, August 27, 2011

Completeness **

With a very appealing cast, an interesting situation, a clever set (by David Zinn) and able direction (by Pam MacKinnon), Itamar Moses' play at Playwrights Horizons has a lot going for it. Two ambitious graduate students, Elliot (Karl Miller), a computer scientist, and Molly (Aubrey Dollar), a molecular biologist, meet cute in a university computer lab. Can these two scientists from different disciplines, each freshly out of a bad relationship, form a lasting bond? That is the focus of the play, with detours for scenes with their past and potential partners (multiple roles well played by Brian Avers and, especially, Meredith Forlenza) and a subplot about sexual politics in academia. With all their lengthy speeches about protein sequences and esoteric algorithms, one wonders whether this attractive pair will ever stop talking long enough to have sex. (They do -- there is a brief nude scene.) The play starts spinning its wheels in Act Two and resorts to a questionable gimmick near the end. Although the play ultimately disappointed me, its many merits outbalanced its weaknesses. Running time: 2 1/4 hours including intermission.

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