Anthony J. Piccione
- New York Theatre Critic
Manhattan Repertory Theatre is known for frequently hosting the short play productions of new playwrights, over the course of the entire year. For the sake of full disclosure, I will say that I myself had my 1st play in NYC produced at Manhattan Repertory Theatre nearly two years ago, and my personal experience with them has been highly positive. So when I was recently invited to review another writer’s short work at Manhattan Rep this past weekend, I admit I was quite intrigued.
Entitled The Truth, this short drama is written by Yiqing Zhao, who stars in the show alongside Marissa Kruep. Presumably, “the truth” that the title refers to is the fact that Ms. Zhao’s character Denise, a young lesbian woman in her 20s hiding her sexuality from her family, is the fact that she has romantic feelings for her heterosexual roommate, Amelia. While there is some natural awkwardness about the situation, once Denise confesses, the play ultimately ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the audience to wonder where the relationship between these two characters ultimately goes.
There’s a fair does of humor slipped in along the way, which balance out the more serious moments, which I’m sure LGBTQ theatergoers would be able to relate to. Together, they make this a fairly strong short dramedy that made the overall event worth going to. As much as part of me likes the idea of ending on a cliffhanger, a big part of me wanted to see how it ends. However, if these are the only downsides to a short play like this, I’d say it was quite successful, overall.
Whenever you go to a short play event like this one, you never know what you’re going to get. Some are gems, while others are colossal disappointments. Indeed, that’s part of the adventure of going to an event like this. However, this particular piece – of the six that were presented – was certainly among the stronger works I saw last week. While not immune to the occasional cliché that you might find in a short play, it was nonetheless enjoyable and well-written. Both Ms. Zhao and Ms. Kruep did a fine job at bringing these characters to life, and I look forward to potentially seeing more of Ms. Zhao’s work produced in the future.
“The Truth” ended its run at Manhattan Repertory Theatre on August 31st. For more information on their future short play events, visit www.manhattanrep.com.