Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Flick (Act One) *

Annie Baker may be one of our most acclaimed young playwrights (and Sam Gold, one of the hottest young directors), but I must confess with some sadness that I don't "get" her work. I find her closely observed scenes of ordinary people doing everyday things boring and banal. I was astounded that "Circle Mirror Transformation" won an Obie and is among one of today's most frequently produced plays. Her new play at Playwrights Horizons chronicles the relationships of employees of a slightly seedy movie theater in small-town Massachusetts, likely soon to be a victim of the move to digital projection. Sam (Matthew Mayer), a man in his late 30's, is breaking in a new employee, Avery (Aaron Clifton Moten), a depressed black 20-year-old. Rose (Louisa Krause), the green-haired, free-spirited projectionist, takes a shine to Avery. Alex Hanna plays a man who falls asleep in the theater. Perhaps he was destined for greater things in Act Two. I'll never know. After 90 minutes of watching Stan and Avery clean the theater numerous times and having the bright light of the projector repeatedly shined in the audience's eyes, I had had enough. The thought of returning after intermission for another 90 minutes of same was not appealing. I did enjoy seeing David Zinn's perfect recreation of a movie theater. I wish I could join the Annie Baker fan club, but clearly that is never going to happen. Running time: 3 hours, plus a 15 minute intermission.

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