The Looking Glass Theatre
422 West 57th Street
March 25-27, April 1-3, April 8-10, 2004
Thursday through Saturday, 8pm
Simon — Bryan Fenkart
Mom — Leslie E. Hughes
Dad — Don Piccin
Ricky — Raum-Aron, Gregory Ritchie
Erin — Ashley Diane Currie
John — Chris Mollica
— Christopher Yustin
Pete Boisvert, James Comtois, Shay Gines, Dennis Hurley,
Cat Johnson, Laurel Keane, Patrick Shearer, Brian Silliman,
Scot Williams, Stephanie Cox-Williams, Christopher Yustin
Director — Pete Boisvert
Playwright — James Comtois
Stage Manager — Stephanie Cox-Williams
Sound Designer — Patrick Shearer
Lighting Designer — Chris Daly
Set Designer — Derek Brashears
Original Music — Scott Williams
Producers Pete Boisvert, James Comtois,
I don’t think I’m alone in this, but if I got a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “Oh my life is such a soap opera” (or something to that effect) I could buy a studio apartment on the Upper West Side. You’ve heard that before, too. “My life IS this show!” “Watching [fill in the blank] is like watching a show of my life!” Hell, you’ve probably said something along those lines at least once. I know I have.
We all know it’s not true.
True, some media outlets (television shows, popular songs, movies) can present a hyped-up version of normal, everyday life (no one on TV really talks like that in real life!). But there’s a big difference between heightened reality and out-and-out lying. So, the difficulty in writing this play was trying to present something believable and realistic and entertaining (hell, you’ve paid your fifteen bucks; might as well have SOME fun tonight) without succumbing to the pitfalls of dramatic devices. In other words, write a piece of drama without all that drama.
Obviously, writing a play about the damning effects of television and mass media would be far too hypocritical (considering how many episodes of “elimiDATE” I’ve watched, I’m in no position to act superior). So, for good or for bad, television is here to stay. And, like it or not, it’s going to influence our personal lives.
The problem that the characters have in Mayonnaise Sandwiches is that they’ve seen and heard so many things about how they should be behaving, how they should be feeling and what they should be wanting, they have no idea how to behave, what they feel or what they want. Though seemingly dull, normal people, there’s enough fodder in their day-to-days lives to fuel numerous Lifetime Original Movies, countless sitcoms and Jerry Springer shows (on the surface, anyways).
So, with any luck, some of you will leave this play and say to a friend, “My life IS this show!”
And your friend will tell you you’re full of shit.
New York, March 2004
Mayonnaise Sandwiches (2004)
A two-act comedic drama about quiet family dysfunctions, mass media and bad TV dinners. Simon, an unemployed young man in his twenties, wants to reinvent himself as a tortured artist/musician. His mother, only thirteen years his senior, wants to shape him up to be a responsible adult. His stepfather, the only man Simon has ever known as “Dad,” wants to watch TV and enjoy mayonnaise sandwiches. Ricky, Simon’s younger half-brother, simply wants to play with his toys. And their television set, a long-standing member of the family, wants their undivided attention.
"Woyzeck-like in structure, with interchangeable, uncomplicated scenes, the production attempted to explore in a quasi-Cubist style the world of a family tainted by taboo and mired in alienation. The script bravely experimented with form in search of elemental emotional truths. ... The actors' strong rapport brought to life under-wrought scenework and made prosaic kitchen-sink dialog engaging, snappy, and even-flowing.
What also made this production particularly enjoyable was the estimable exuberance and energy exerted by cast and crew. ... Through Pete Boisvert's direction, the cast played softly against the text, creating a production light, quirky, and comical that might otherwise have come across as hackneyed, shallow, and dull. ... Taken together, this production was an intelligent, serious, and fun realization of an exploratory script that sought to comprehend problematic family matters." — oobr.com
It is hard not to love Bryan Fenkart as this shrugging force of global disappointment—distrustful of those who believe in him, and resentful of those who call his bluff. He is unconvinced by his own bag of tricks, and it is quite affecting to watch him play them anyway, with his failing, fractured charisma. Certain he isn’t listening to them, his family, girlfriend and best friend are vocal about his shortcomings, but unbeknownst to them, Simon has a biological alarm clock inside that has gone off, and he has no idea how to stop it. —Nytheatre.com