In Between - a one act play
a Kate West review
written and performed by David Storrs
directed by Karen Maruyama
at the Elephant Lab/Lillian Theater
1076 Lillian Way, south of Santa Monica Blvd., between Cahuenga & Vine, Los Angeles
Every Thursday 8 p.m., October 21 – November 4, 2004, RSVP (818) 980-0843, $10
“In Between” is an adorable and clever true-to-life account of the pangs of despised love. Author David Storrs addresses the audience at the top of the play, explaining that we are about to see an account of his breakup with his girlfriend and what happens before healing – in other words, the “in between” stage - when people are at their most vulnerable and nutty.
Although Storrs credits Michael Naughton, Aron Kader and Jill Alexander with helping write some scenes, most likely taken from his stint in the Groundlings Sunday Company, (www.groundlings.com), his is the prevalent voice. The actors portray different people in Storrs life, depicting everyone from Shannon, the girlfriend who leaves him (sympathetically portrayed by Kristen Wiig), and best friend Kevin (the likeable Michael Naughton) to Steve Mallory, acting as a literal umpire, striking out Storrs whenever he puts his foot in his mouth. It happens frequently, as Storrs himself admits.
Through a series of amusing comedic vignettes, Storrs unmasks himself, unafraid to portray the fool and copping to all the mistakes he made in the relationship. Buoyed by a strong cast, including Stephanie Courtney, Liz Feldman, Jay Lay, Steve Mallory, Mark Mollenkamp, Katey Mushlin, Michael Naughton and Kristen Wiig, and guided by strong directing from Karen Maruyama, Storrs is the universal voice of the dumped. We emphasize profoundly because after all, who hasn’t had heard the “let’s-be-friends” speech or plaintively asked “what did I do wrong?”
We also have the added benefit of Storrs addressing us directly, creating an informal and welcoming atmosphere. He spars jokingly with fellow cast members vying for the spotlight, including girlfriend Shannon who wants to tell her side of things. Storrs is so friendly and open that we instantly sympathize with him, even when he is recalling the most embarrassing moments. It is precisely this stage presence that gives the play its charm. In other hands, it may have come across as more pathetic but Storrs highlights the drama with charming honesty and gentle self-deprecation.
At a little over an hour, the play is just long enough for one to get a good insightful look into the modern dating world, while still rooting for the main character. A little uneven at times, the play is constructed with previously written scenes that Storrs adapts for this new single-themed piece. Regardless, he wins us over by the very act of putting on this production, as he is proclaiming himself healed, giving the rest of us a little sorely needed optimism. A warm, self-contained piece, it would be interesting to see a full-length production of “In Between,” but as it stands, it is definitely an amusing evening.
In Between - a one act play