Ah, those Generation Xers. Popular culture scribes can't get enough of trying to analyze their social habits. Peter Eramo Jr. tries his hand at it with One Way Street, billed as "a nineties love story about reality." Yet nothing the characters say or do is unique to their generation, and much of it is unrealistic. Furthermore, Eramo delivers no new insights into how men and women relate.
Entire scenes and even characters in this overly long play are disposable. The dialogue consists of clumsy pop-culture references, inarticulate conversation, and dubious pronouncements about the opposite sex. An unexpected tragedy at the end obliterates any message about how to win at love.
The central couple in One Way Street are Suzanne and David, who meet in July 1994. The play follows them and their friends month by month until May 1995, when David is left to soliloquize about the mistakes we make in relationships -- things that "seemed so right at the time." But what mistakes is he talking about? If ever there were a perfect boyfriend, David is it. In fact, there's no reason for him and Suzanne to break up. Eramo contrives a conflict between them that's foolish and unconvincing.
Meanwhile, David's buddy Kevin learns that the polygamous bachelor life he has relished isn't all it's cracked up to be after girlfriend Vicki dumps him for cheating on her. Vicki's friend Barbara, however, shows her that the married life Vicki craves isn't all it's cracked up to be. The sixth character is David's other close friend, Martin. A counterpoint to caddish Kevin, Martin has been devoted to his girlfriend and looks forward to their wedding. His character is so inappropriately written, though, that he's the gloomiest happy bridegroom you've ever seen.
The male bonding scenes were particularly illogical. In one ineffectively staged scene, the men reclined on a bed together while confiding in each other. In most of their scenes together, the men were fighting.
The actors generally did not rise above their weak material. John DelVecchio did a decent "nice guy" turn as David, and Meredith Bergman gave a sympathetic portrayal of Vicki. Samantha Brown was OK too as Barbara, although the purpose of her character is questionable. The good-looking set compressed five settings onto one stage, but the director had the actors moving around too much in some scenes and not enough in others.
(Also featuring Rebecca DuMaine, Mark Giordano, Jeremy Klavens; Set, Arthur Adair, Greg Guarnaccia; Lighting, Greg Guarnaccia; Sound, Peter Eramo Jr./Holly Drastal.)
Copyright 1996 Adrienne Onofri
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