- OnStage New York Critic
One of several plays that appear annually on festival stages that deal with reuniting millennial best friends at the (about to be sold) beach house, for one last memorable weekend, “Bodies of Water” treads in deep water but has too many life preservers at hand to produce a lasting impression or immersive characters. Margot, the somewhat successful actor, played with Machiavellian confidence by Elizabeth M. Kelly, explains in her prologue that she likes being looked at for her beauty, but really wants to be seen. This perfectly delineates what promotes the character’s persona and drives her actions during the course of the play. Jason, the wishful, hopeful, struggling playwright is filled with sensitivity, commitment and unspoken fear by Jordan Douglas Smith, who is shackled to a fallacious past and cannot move forward. Benny, the television star, is infused with self-assurance and sangfroid by Eric Cotti, easily revealing that he has moved on, when showing up late with his new girlfriend Claire (Jenna Krasowski). She is a teacher, drenched with optimism and sweetness even after she steps foot into the murky waters that surround her. These characters tell their story, on the night of a tremendous storm which causes a blackout, on the night of the supposed Apocalypse.
It brings to mind the thought of Kenneth Lonergan retelling a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale with characters replaced by a group of millennials. Saying anything more about the plot would produce too many spoiler alerts. The individuals are interesting and their interaction pivotal to the story but the dialogue sometimes lacks the ability to add depth to the characters. In one instance the script becomes dependent on the old standby game of Truth and Dare for exposition, only in this case dropping the Dare from the activity. This is one example of where the actors are cheated of the chance to reveal their characters using their own craft and more impassioned dialogue. In the present state the playwright Erin Breznitsky needs to tighten script and trust her characters with some inspired dialogue. It will be interesting to see where this engaging play will surface with a few changes and a clearer look at the message which is floating in cloudy water right now.
BODIES OF WATER
“Bodies of Water” is presented by The New York International Fringe Festival and Six Part Productions at WOW Café, 59-61 East 4th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Avenue).
For more information about the show including performance dates, the cast, and creative team, please visit http://www.bodiesofwaternyc.com/. For more information about the 20th Annual New York Fringe Festival visit www.FringeNYC.org. Running time is 2 hours.
Pictured: Jordan Douglas Smith and Eric Cotti. Credit: Lauren McCune.