It is never easy performing for an audience of six people, when the theatre seats 50, though that is what the cast of Not Like Crocker was forced to do one night recently. Did it make a difference? It's hard to say.
Not Like Crocker, a three-character comedy-drama by Chris Widney, begins in 1984 and covers ten years in the lives of three college friends: Lisa, Allison, and Cause. Scene One takes place in a funeral home. Crocker, their drunken, good-for-nothing college soccer coach, has just died, and the three heroines proclaim that they will not waste their lives like Crocker but will work hard to make a difference to humanity. Lisa then gives up school-teaching in order to marry her moronic yet persistent boyfriend and become a stay-at-home mom. Allison takes a job at her father's brokerage house, forgets about going to architecture school as she planned, and finally marries one of her clients - Larry the Juice King, aka Larry the Loser. The only one who stays the course is Cause, who opens a food co-op and perseveres against long odds until it becomes a success. However, Cause gets burned out, sensing that she will never be able to erase poverty and hunger, but merely continue applying a small Band-Aid to an ever-growing societal wound.
Not Like Crocker is an interesting, problematic piece. Plays that cover long spans of time are quite difficult to pull off. Yet author Widney has taken on a big task and should be applauded. However, the play has numerous problems. While the characters are well drawn, they are not wholly original. That is not to say the writing is without merit. There are some fine exchanges, and the monologues that cover the scene changes throughout the piece are sharp and incisive, telling the audience a great deal about the difficulties the three women face.
The play was not helped by the production. Although the set, by Jo Winiarski, was simple and clean, the direction by Marcina Zaccaria tended toward the slow side. Moreover, the acting was uneven all around. The best of the performers was Juliet Furness (Cause). Unfortunately, she occasionally lost her American accent and slipped into something sounding vaguely Australian or Irish. Jacqueline D. Kozak (Lisa) and Maryam Dalan (Allison) had many good moments but needed a bit more energy. However, when there are six people in the house it can be very hard to get it together. Lines that normally get laughs tend to die, and poignant moments just don't seem as poignant as they usually do. Perhaps on another night Not Like Crocker would have made a much greater impact: the impact the author surely intended. (Lights: Sadie Zea Ishee.)
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Copyright 1998 John Attanas