Single Red Rose

By Scott L. Wolfson
Directed by Stanford Yukinaga
Samuel Beckett Theatre
Equity showcase (closed)
Reviewed by Marshall Yaeger

The love-sick hero complains that his fore-play takes too long, sometimes becoming five-play and six-play.

So does the comedy. Although the lines are sometimes very funny, à la Woody Allen, the actions keep coming back like an underdone onion that won't burp.

The director staged things well but should be blamed for allowing the playwright/actor to indulge in purposeless riffs of dialogue and too many excerpts of someone's favorite records.

The author, playing the hero of the play, complains about not having an attractive figure, losing his hair, being the type girls marry but refuse to date, and being scarred deep down, emotionally. Wolfson's confessionals may be true, but they're not very interesting, and are sometimes hard to watch.

Sarah Provost was quite fine as the beauteous object of the hero's love. But Fiona Jones picked up the play every time she entered. Though playing a minor role, she matched the hero better than his intended, exuding sex flirtatiously, and chug-a-lugging as well as any guy.

Sean Elias-Reyes, as the hero's roommate, never lost his smile, good humor, or good sense, even while battling with a smoke detector and littering the stage with its remains.

Blaire Lennane had few lines to help portray a very young girl. Nevertheless, her lithe body and expressive face consistently captured both youth and audience attention.

Ali Lemer tootled a johnny-one-note character named Donna Frupp and was about as funny as her name. Mark Allen Berube demonstrated more humor in his program bio than in his portrayal of the hero's rival. On the other hand, wearing a wig in a secondary role, he became comically convincing as a hopeless dolt, amazingly different from the first portrayal.

Some of the costumes made humorous character points, such a fashionably torn pair of jeans pulled on in pieces. Curtis Phillips designed a clever set that was much too elaborate to double for both the hero's and his girlfriend's apartments. The lighting by Joe Kenter was fine, but the execution of sound cues (partly due to illness and a last-minute replacement) was unbalanced and spotty, especially for the his-and-her doorbells, telephone ringers, and answering machine messages that were essential clues for the audience to figure out location.

No one will deny the author's intelligence when quoting epigrams of such as Samuel Butler and Hippocrates. But when he adds his own notions, such as the idea that love without sex is worse than sex without love, they sometimes come across as the ramblings of a lonely juvenile who has not yet found true love.

As an actor Wolfson needs more energy on stage. As a playwright with promise, he needs to expand his sense of what an audience is willing to put up with. It is to be hoped that this production and its sparse audience will offer him a clue.

Box Score:
Writing 1
Directing 1
Acting 2
Set 1
Costumes 1
Lighting 1/Sound 0
Copyright 1995 Marshall Yaeger
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