Editor/Publisher, Bina Sharif

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rebecca Gilman


Blue Surge by Rebecca Gilman is at the Wild Project on East third Street.
I missed the play when it ran at the Public theater. Rebecca Gilman is a Joseph Jefferson award winner playwright whose many plays have been produced at the Goodman theater in Chicago and elsewhere.

One thing very admirable about the playwright is that she takes her time. She is not in a rush to write a mere 85-90 minute play because the attention span of the today's audience is so in flight to rush out of the theater to get to that cab or to that drink and steak.

Blue Surge is two and a half hour long and a lots of it is worthy of its length. Only one problem
is apparent here in this production by EXTANT ARTS COMPANY.
Most of the actors are not equipped to handle the poetry of the playwright for a sustained period of time and thus it sounds like that the actors are repeating themselves in various
scenes especially between Curt,(Pete Caslavka) and Sandy,(Lauren M.Nordvig) when they exchange stories of their respective mothers, one with many dogs and the other with burdens of many marriages including a last one with a woman.

Somehow or the other one feels as this has been heard before. The main reason for this is
the pacing. Its extremely slow. It needs to be picked up. It drags the poetry of the writing.
Once in a while, to create a nostalgic sadness its fine but its constant and makes the play seems longer than it actually is.

The BLUE SURGE is about a cop named, Curt who is a very decent fellow with a good heart
who wants to help the good people who by some tragic stroke of luck have been reduced to doing jobs they don't want to do. But thats what he thinks. Some people want and like the jobs they are doing like Sandy who works as a hooker in a massage parlor which is being raided by
the cop Curt one day and by Doug, (Justin Gallo) another cop who works with Curt and is a close friend.
The day Curt is visiting the massage parlor Sandy suspects him that he is a cop because he doesn't take his underwear off and thus doesn't agree to go any further than a very tender back rub. Curt who has an upwardly mobile fiance named Beth,(Bridget R. Durkin) gets smitten by Sandy and for the rest of the play wants to save her soul while Sandy just has the heart of a hooker and ends up having her own business while Curt destroys his Upcomin marriage and his job and ends up like a big nothing....

There is a side plot where Doug falls for another hooker named Heather,(Louise Flory) who works with Sandy and they end up having a family together which is much more positive an ending.

Though I liked Ms. Gilman's writing...At certain moments it really draws you inside the souls of the lost and lonely and you feel lots of tenderness for these characters but at some other moments you want Curt to save himself and not be so Naive and good hearted for others.
These moments have the danger in the writing and the acting to make the lead character into a victim.

The show drags a lot in the first act but moves a bit faster in the second act.
Some actors such as Justin Gallo as Doug and Louise Flory as Heather has more of a spark to their acting.
Bridget R. Durkin as Beth is excellent in her first scene at the police station but then fades away afterwards.
Pete Caslavka as Curt and Lauren M. Nordvig as Sandy are good also but they are in so many scenes which sound similar to their previous ones that they begin to feel tired and tedious to us.
I would like to see this play one more time with very fast pacing and some editing because there was a, "FEEL" in the play that I admired much.

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