Death stalks the cubicles


Written and produced by Tina Posterli
Directed by Matt M. Morrow
Midtown International Theatre Festival
Raw Space Theatre M
529 W. 42nd St. (279-4200/
Equity showcase (closes July 27)
Review by John Chatterton

Flack is a short knockabout farce about the PR business and corporate life. It is set in the offices of a PR company whose biggest account, the new asthma drug Nasoflo, has just caused 25 deaths in clinical trials. The dysfunctional account team must respond with a damage-control campaign.

Boss Jaime Diamond (Tami Dixon) is sleeping with sarcastic stud Lance LePratt (John Kevin Jones), who loses no opportunity to denigrate his colleagues: half-asleep dweeb Wayne Naylor (Christian Rummel); sharp up-and-coming black woman (who never lets the company forget her blackness) Lisa Scott (Joy Stiles); dithery, effeminate, and ineffectual Johnathan Spivey (Darron Cardosa); and total slacker Carlo (Armando Rodriguez), whose chief interest other than evading work assignments is eating. Fortunately, Spivey is asthmatic and is convinced to give a public testimonial to Nasoflo -- after snorting some at a press conference. The press conference is a disaster in which Spivey dies and Naylor kills Diamond. The anticlimactic wrapup shows the aftermath, in which the PR company makes hay out of an anti-rage drug whose development was stimulated by Naylor's going postal.

The only way to play this thin material is with furious speed, and this production didn't disappoint. Everyone was on the money with lines, timing, business, and scene changes. The acting didn't extend the flimsy characterizations (Rodriguez had a clever turn as flamboyantly effeminate Nasoflo spokesman Dr. Imashysta, who insists that the "h" in his name is silent, so it should be pronounced "I'm a seesta"). Most of the costumes were workable; Imashysta's, with its flamboyant scarf (matching the orange Nasoflo inhaler), even discounting its ill-fitting three-piece pinstripe, was a funny extension of the character. The sets were necessarily basic: a conference room and press conference trappings. The lighting could have made more use of the available back lights for other than special effects.

This is an amusing, almost absurd curtain-raiser that makes no claims to profundity but generally served its purpose well.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 2
Acting: 1
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2002 John Chatterton