Off-Broadway Review: “Implications of Cohabitation” at the Clurman Theatre

Off-Broadway Review: “Implications of Cohabitation” at the Clurman Theatre

David Roberts

  • OnStage Chief New York Theatre Critic

The Homeless Man (David Pendleton) sums up Nelson’s (Anthony Ruiz) dilemma in a simple phrase, “You should know there are implications to cohabitation.” Nelson is the husband and father of two families and he has not fulfilled either of those roles with any distinction from their beginnings. After the death of his wife Caitlin, Nelson wants to “make nice” with his three adult children and his former lover Carmen (Adriana Sananes). He summons his three children to the Ecuadorian restaurant where Carmen once worked to begin the process of reconciliation and suggests the best way to accomplish regaining their confidence in him is to takes turns living with each of them. 

Photo credit: Photo: Connie Saltzman, Andres de Vengoechea, Gladys Perez, and Vanessa Verduga. Credit: Michael Blase.

Photo credit: Photo: Connie Saltzman, Andres de Vengoechea, Gladys Perez, and Vanessa Verduga. Credit: Michael Blase.

Cohabiting with these three has disastrous implications and provides the storyline for Vanessa Verduga’s play “Implications of Cohabitation” currently running at the Clurman Theatre on Theatre Row in Midtown Manhattan. Nelson finds fault with his two children by the deceased Caitlin: Kevin (Andres de Vengochea) his firstborn son is an unemployed actor who has no interest in joining his father’s business; and Jenny (Connie Saltzman) his third child is a free-spirited punk-rocker. And although his second child Sara (Vanessa Verduga) is a successful attorney, his visit to her apartment results in a mistaken identity fiasco when he walks in on Sara’s ex-boyfriend Jake (James Padric) making a visit after having had a “huge argument” with his gay partner Jean. 

Nelson’s attempt to create a harmonious blended family fails and in the process of trying to reconcile with his children after abandoning them, he discovers his need to change. This macho Ecuadorian father simply cannot control his Ecuadorian-American child (Sara) or his Irish-Ecuadorian children (Kevin and Jenny). However, Sara’s upcoming wedding to Ben provides Nelson the opportunity to complete the redemptive process of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Whether he manages to walk Sara down the aisle into a new relationship with his children and Carmen provides the resolution of Ms. Vergara’s play.

Although Ms. Vergara’s characters are well-developed on the page and although the talented cast appears to make every effort to further develop their characters on stage, the overall effect of “Implications of Cohabitation” is akin to a lackluster soap opera. It is difficult to care deeply about anyone except perhaps the Homeless Man played with a gentle caring spirit by David Pendleton, Nelson’s lover Carmen played with a steely resolve by Adriana Saranes, and the deceased Caitlin who had to suffer with Neslon’s infidelity and lack of concern for his children. Gladys Perez rounds out the cast as the waitress and Kevin’s visitor.

It appears the script itself is the problem here as well as Leni Mendez’s erratic and unremarkable direction. Additionally, a couple of the cast members went up on lines consistently throughout this reviewed performance: this requires the remainder of the cast to constantly be prepared to cover and obviously can affect their performances.

With time, hopefully “Implications of Cohabitation” will find its mark.

 

IMPLICATIONS OF COHABITATION

The cast of “Implications of Cohabitation” features Anthony Ruiz, Vanessa Verduga, Adriana Sananes, David Pendleton, Andres de Vengochea, Connie Saltzman, James Padric and Gladys Perez.

“Implications of Cohabitation” features Set Design by Anna Grigo, Costume Design by Steven Daniel, Lighting Design by Jackson Miller and the Asst. Director is Joseph Barone. Casting is by Orpheus Group Casting. The production’s General Management is by DTE Management. Production photos are by Michael Blase.

Performances of “Implications of Cohabitation” are on Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.,
and on Wednesday August 17th at 2:00 p.m. For a full list of performances visit: http://sudacastheater.com/. 
 
Tickets for “Implications of Cohabitation” are $20.25 and available at Telecharge.com. Direct Link to purchase tickets: http://sudacastheater.com/. Running time is 90 minutes plus a 15-minute intermission.

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