Saturday, May 21, 2005

We're living in the Age of Consent- a little British drama at Stage Left

Three cheers for young punks! MOB productions are some recent grads putting on and starring in some play they saw once in England and really liked, and I think that's somehow adorable. It helps that I also really liked the play. "The Age of Consent" is just two enticing tabloid characters-- the stage mom who lets bad things happen to her daughter and the teenage former thrill killer-- talking to us. Thematically rather than dramatically linked. And I could parse out the various threads that tie them together, but more important: two great stories. I mean, it's awful and tawdry, but these are the narratives that fascinate us. Might as well enjoy them in a play that's sensitive and aware.

The two young punks aren't bad either. Alex Goodman looks intensely like John Cusack, and there is something damnably hot about a tortured, cloistered, juvi-hall educated, vulnerable convict who looks like John Cusack. Lauren Van Kurin has the tougher job, the less sympathetic character (I like you less than a murderer, Stephanie!). 'Gym-Slip Mummy' Stephanie, at 25, is technically within Van Kurin's age range, but she's so frickin' rough and ill used that I still felt baby-faced Van Kurin was too young. They both did a fine job carrying their halves of the play- each doing what amounts to a one-act monologue, in dialect no less. And jeeze- not perfect, but I was impressed. At several points, I felt like crying.

Note- credit card commercials can make me CRY. Making me feel like crying-- as opposed to reaching into my lizard brain and flipping the switch for the waterworks-- is a job for capital-A Art.

Final notes. Laughs. Cozy recognition of English stuff from my year abroad. (Did the other people in the audience know about Panto? Did they realize that MandS Junior Lingerie modeling isn't as bad as it sounds? Do they know how terrible the Sun is?)

The Venue: Stage Left. Tiny and weird. Trains-a-go-go, but I think they are atmospheric. A bigger problem- the only bathroom is backstage.

The set up for AofC was not quite right. Two quarters seating, with everything oriented towards the shorter end. There was a single couch, placed so that when a woman in a particular front row seat crosses her legs she blocks passage for the actors. Of course, a woman in wedges did this when I went to see the play, forcing the actors to subway shuffle past her at least three times per monologue. MOVE THE COUCH OR BLOCK THE SEAT.


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