Review: “Carcass” at Shetler Studios

Featured: Alan Cordoba-Diaz, Eddie Vernovsky, Aleeza Lew. Photo Credit: Dan Lane Williams

Featured: Alan Cordoba-Diaz, Eddie Vernovsky, Aleeza Lew. Photo Credit: Dan Lane Williams

  • Max Berry, Contrinbuting Critic - New York City

“Carcass” is a new play by Eddie Vernovsky that chronicles the story of Eric (Vernovsky),  a depressed young man who is struggling to find his purpose in life. This is made all the more difficult by a girlfriend he doesn’t really like and a family that pushes every button and crosses every line. “Carcass” had the potential to be a great family/relationship drama about a broken man searching to be whole, but unfortunately, very few of the characters felt fleshed out enough to where I wanted to know what happened to them, and the spiritual journey of Eric felt very simplified.

At the start, the play’s casual and repetitive dialogue was fun and I got the sense that the play would center around these two friends hanging out, continuing with the pedestrian way of speaking. However, as the show went on, it became very clear that this was not the story we were getting. What followed felt slightly confused.  There were far too many scenes of just screaming for my liking.  Often feeling like they come straight out of nowhere and are simply “I’m mad”. The play suffers from trying to juggle multiple plots before finally settling on one to focus on, and for a play that is not terribly long, this pushes the final plot (as well as the core metaphor) to the end, forcing it to be rushed and under developed.

A stand out in “Carcass” was definitely Alan Cordoba-Diaz, who carried most of the show with his heartwarming portrayal of Mikey. Cordoba-Diaz instantly elevated any scene he was in and the scenes between him and Eric were the best in the play. Eddie Vernovsky as Eric held a casual demeanor throughout the entire show that felt very passive and made it hard for me to latch on to anything his character was saying. He seemed perpetually annoyed, which given the struggles that he has had within his family, is more than justified. However, there was little variety in his response to the growing situation. Even when he had his big revelation moment at the end of the play, he had the same demeanor as when he started.

When Eric returns from his hunting trip he brings back the bloody carcass of a buffalo that he shot and killed. He goes on to describe the clarity that killing this buffalo has brought him. The metaphor, however, was unclear and felt like a last minute addition to the play rather than the central idea of the piece.  The scenes with the girlfriend felt out of place with the rest of the narrative. I felt that her character could have been given a little more to do and the dialogue in her introductory scene. Though, one of the best parts of the play was her fiery monologue in act two attacking Eric and Mikey for the way they’ve been acting.

“Carcass” was full of potential at the start but seemed unsure of it’s direction and rushed in execution. This being a world premiere, I look forward to seeing a version of this play that has been further fleshed out and made more specific, because there were clearly lots of ideas, they just needed a little more consideration.

“Carcass” was written by Eddie Vernovsky and directed by Bruce Ornstein

It features: Alan Cordoba-Diaz, Eddie Vernovsky, Aleeza Lew, Dan Lane Williams, and Elaine Davis.

It features set design by Theron Wineinger and lighting/sound design by Maryam Sweirki.

“Carcass” was presented through the Wednesday Repertory Company at Shetler Studios-Theatre 54 (244 West 54th St. New York NY, 10024) May 9-19.