Oscar E Moore

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Reading Under the Influence opens Off B’way – being inebriated might help

April 17th, 2011 by Oscar E Moore

Bottles of white wine are consumed on stage by the “Real” Westchester Woman’s Book Club in the living room of wealthy widow Jocelyn Anders (Joanna Bayless) as they have assembled to discuss “The Homeless Dogs of Egypt” in this ninety minute play – with intermission – a play that seems to have been put together in the same amount of time by Tony Glazer.

I greatly admired his “In the Daylight” but Reading Under the Influence is quite another story.  And not much of a story at that. 

The wealthy widow Jocelyn whose living room seems to have come from Goodwill has sold her Book Club idea to a reality TV producer from Lifetime and hasn’t told her fellow members:  Sara (Summer Crockett Moore – Mr. Glazer’s wife), Megan Goldstein (Barbara Walsh) a recent convert to Judaism, and Kerry (Ashley Austin Morris) a dim-witted free spirit who is the most amusing character and the only one who is given something to act.

Mr. Glazer has taken this simple plot line and made it a platform for him to be heard about such topics as intellectual property, Judaism, Lesbianism, the plight of dogs everywhere, reality television production, lawyers, vaginas, the Hamptons, Ryan Seacrest and Oprah.  Not necessarily in that order.  Mr. Glazer’s off kilter dark sense of humor seems to have momentarily lapsed here.

This unfunny production comes across as second rate Community Theatre for a group of lonely women looking for something to do.  The characters are one dimensional and there is little development.  There is an intermission only because at the end of the first part the actors are so drunk that they wind up throwing the canapés at each other and the mess has to be cleaned up so that part two can begin which seems like another play altogether as the director and producer from Lifetime are taping this debacle of drunken women for the executives to decide upon.

Jeremy Webb as Carson Todlene filming on his hand held video camera has little to say as he lolls around the floor and up close while Maria- Christina Oliveras as producer Margrit Somasa-Williams deflates their egos with the news that real actors will be used in the show – not them. 

A devastated Jocelyn laments that she has to be heard.  I’m afraid that Mr. Glazer is lamenting the same thing in this woefully directed production by Wendy C. Goldberg.

At the DR2 Theatre 103 East 15th Street.  Through May 15th.


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