Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Completeness at Playwrights Horizons

You don't have to know anything about science to relate to Itamar Moses's romantic comedy between nerdy scientist types. And don't let the term romantic comedy scare you either. Completeness, directed by Pam MacKinnon, is an accurate portrayal of 20-somethings dealing with relationships.

Molly (Aubrey Dollar) is a molecular biology graduate student and Elliot (Karl Miller) is at the same school in the computer science department. They eye each other in a computer lab (David Zinn's set is deceptively simple at first, then revealing multiple surprises) and he offers to create a computer program that will help her in her research. It doesn't take long for them to end up in bed together and as much as they as they like each other, they both have trouble with commitment.

Moses has a gift for writing realistic dialogue and the leads speak it so naturally that at times it's hard to remember it's scripted. There are so many little details that ring true, like Elliot asking for Molly's number, then changing his mind and asking for her e-mail address because then it's more likely he'll actually get in touch. Even the scientific lingo, or at least the basic gist of it, is pretty easy to follow.

Miller played Elliot in the world premiere of Completeness at South Coast Repertory, but he joined this production already in rehearsals (he replaced Lucas Kavner, who replaced Michael Stahl-David). Considering Miller and Dollar must not have had much time to work together, their chemistry is even more impressive. The other two actors, Meredith Forlenza and Brian Avers play multiple roles, but they don't feel distinct enough.

There is one jarring scene in the second act that will probably prove divisive (without revealing too much, I thought it broke up the realism of the rest of the play and could have done without it, while others thought it was one of the best scenes). At least it will provide plenty to talk about it on the way out of the theater, as will the rest of the play.

Use code COMPBLOG for a ticket discount. Order by September 13 and tickets are $40 (reg. $70) for performances August 19-Sept. 4; and $50 (reg. $70) for perfs. Sept. 6-25. For tickets or more information, visit http://playwrightshorizons.org or call (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily).

Note: The production officially opens on September 13, but I was invited to a preview and asked to post my thoughts.

1 comment:

Mildly Bitter said...

Could not agree more!