Been downtown so long it looks like up to me


By David Rubinoff
Directed by Kevin Moriarty
Playing For Keeps Productions
Non-union production (closed)
Review by John Attanas

When you're addicted to the actor's life, withdrawal is a very painful process. That is what Stuck, by David Rubinoff, is about; withdrawal from the actor's life, and other various bohemian ways of life that are hard to break free from.

Stuck is a one-man show about Jack, a thirtyish, unemployed actor in contemporary Toronto. Right off he says that when his elementary school class put on a play, he was cast in the role of a tree. But he did not despair, for he was hooked. He then goes on to describe his move to the big city, where he ``got a gig at a big theatre..,'' handing out programs.

From that inauspicious start his artistic life has headed down hill. He has gotten into heavy pot-smoking, and is now nearly broke. He then leads the audience on what is (it is to be hoped) a not-so-average day. His apartment is robbed, and his drugs and cash are taken. He gets in touch with his dealer, but the dealer won't sell him pot because he is worried about a stock-market crash. Thus Jack is forced to give the dealer a blow job in order to get his order filled. He then travels about Toronto, encountering various colorful oddballs, has many drug-induced fantasies, and finally meets a handsome, upscale museum worker whom he goes home with, and is raped by.

Stuck, which was produced in Canada at both the Rhubarb! Festival and the Toronto Fringe Festival, is clearly a dark work. However, it is not without humor, and at certain points is quite hilarious. Clearly, playwright Rubinoff knows his subject frighteningly well, and his writing is crisp and compelling. At 55 minutes, the piece never dragged. On the down side, however, Stuck is rarely either profound or poignant. Jack is clearly a troubled soul, but he hardly ever confronts the demons within him, choosing instead to get high and avoid his troubles. If the playwright had chosen to look inside a little bit more, the piece would have benefited greatly.

The production of Stuck was excellent. The direction of was crisp and clear, with the entire stage utilized to great effect. As Jack, Sean Power was wonderful. Possessing both a powerful voice and a nimble body, he played the role passionately and convincingly. He was a pleasure to watch, and clearly has a future on both the American as well as the Canadian stage. Although there was no set save for a bar stool, the uncredited lights and sound were used to great effect.

Box Score:
Writing 2
Directing 2
Acting 2
Set N/A
Costumes 2
Lighting/Sound 2
Copyright 1997 John Attanas

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