Three-part invention

Inside Out

Looking Glass Theatre
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Adrienne Onofri

There's a saying, ``Wherever you go, there you are.'' For the characters in the three one-act plays that constitute Inside Out, wherever they go, they want to be someplace else. Those who are indoors yearn to be outside, those on the outside are trying to figure out how to get in.

The opener, ``See Jane Run,'' by Judy Sheehan, and directed by Martha Elliot. This three-character piece was actually a long monologue about a young woman who hasn't left her apartment building in 17 months. She was scared inside by the filth and menace of the city's streets and subways, but as events unfold it becomes clears that staying indoors is no escape. Connie Kurtz performed the challenging title role -- challenging due to its length and its wavering ability to enthrall. Jane spoke directly to the audience, and her demons were embodied by two actors who played Jane when she used to go out and the ``High Guy'' she saw commit a crime. The presence of those characters added some intrigue, but ``See Jane Run'' was not compelling enough to succeed completely as a psychological drama.

The middle piece of the intermissionless evening was also named ``Inside Out.'' Written by Kenneth Nowell and directed by Melanie White, it focused on three couples at different stages in their relationships (and different proximities to the apartment door). The characters, identified only by letters such as X and Y, included a boyfriend and girlfriend whose domestic bliss is shattered one Sunday morning, two gay men sharing a cab home from a party, and two lesbians who have just met trying to decide whether to spend the night together. The three stories were played out simultaneously. As in ``See Jane Run,'' a clever idea was not fully realized, partly because the least interesting couple occupied center stage. Hamish Linklater and Chris Osander, as the gay men, and Dawn Michelle and Laura Copeland, as the two women falling in love, were so appealing that their characters would have been better served in a play concentrating exclusively on each couple and how its relationship develops.

Judy Klass's ``Crowded House'' concluded the triple bill. Inspired by Sartre's No Exit, this story placed seven mismatched people in an overheated apartment with a jammed door. The play worked as a screwball comedy but was pretentious and irritating when it took itself more seriously. Klass should have left out the psychobabble and trendy political arguments, which degraded feminism and higher education among other things and were unrealistic coming from a character who was supposed to be a low-class dunce. The anti-New York sentiment (also evident in ``See Jane Run'') was heavy-handed, but most of the jokes were funny. Directed by Kenneth Nowell, ``Crowded House'' was well-cast and amusing.

Shaun Motley's finely detailed set of an apartment was adaptable for all three plays in Inside Out, including the scenes that took place outdoors. The show was a step in the right direction for the young Looking Glass Theatre, which has received acclaim (including an oobr Award) for its productions of Shakespeare and Chekhov but hasn't distinguished itself with the premieres it has produced. (Produced by Justine Lambert. Also featuring Eliza Pryor Nagel, Jeff Pucillo, Michael Jannetta, Elena Matus, Rick Mujica, Megan Folsom, Jamison Selby, Tara M. Blau, and Michael Anderson. Costumes, Amela Baksic; lighting, Bridget Welty.)

Box Score:
Writing 1
Directing 1
Acting 1
Set 0
Costumes 0
Lighting/Sound 0
Copyright 1996 Adrienne Onofri

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