Review: Other People (Mutual Friends in collaboration with Mercedes Grundy)

The first thing my theatre partner said at intermission was, “I lovvve the actor playing Petra!”

Well, no – that’s not quite true. It was, “Yesssss!”

That was her beaming reply to whether she was enjoying Other People, onstage until January 28th at the Tank House Theatre at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Tatiana Maslany plays Petra, a twenty-something from Queens. She’s a strip club dancer, and alludes, at least once, to taking classes at NYU for Creative Writing.

Though hinting at insecurity with her appearance – mentioning a no-carb diet a few times – Petra is devastatingly confident when expressing her opinion.

The role is one of three meaty parts in Other People. The other two belong to Ben Lewis and Indrit Kasapi.

Mr. Lewis plays Stephen, around Petra’s age. But unlike her, he moves in a herky-jerky way, and makes a living writing, though is desperately broke.

Stephen and Petra share an apartment in the East Village.

When Other People begins, Petra and a very anxious Stephen await Mark, Stephen’s ex-lover. He’s going to be staying with them over Christmas and New Year’s.

Mr. Kasapi plays Mark. Mark is – I hesitate to sum-up a character like this – a recovering drug addict.

What we see is Mark, Stephen and Petra brought to their most vulnerable by other people.

For Mark, this is a teenager named Tan, played by Brendan McMurray-Howlett, who relentlessly offers sex and drugs.

For Petra, it’s a patron at the strip club played by Mike McPhaden. And for Stephen, it’s a double-whammy: Mark, and Darren, played by Richard Lee.

Darren is the epitome of a shallow jerk. Sum-up-able with his evidently few interests: expensive tea cups, amateur porn, and a lava lamp.

Stephen seems under the impression that Darren likes him though.

Other People is set in various locations around New York City, which are evoked by Kat Misztal-McCubbing – set and costumes – and Lindsay Naft – sound design– at a magnitude appropriate for the comfy venue.

Monika Seiler is credited as the stage manager. Suzie Balogh is the technical director.

Walking up Parliament Street after the performance, my theatre partner and I couldn’t stop saying good things about the show.

It’s a terrific production that I’d strongly recommend.

Details

Other People is playing at the Tank House Theatre at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts (55 Mill Street) until January 28th 2012.
– Performances are Monday through Saturday at 8:00 PM, with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 PM
– Tickets cost $20.00 for general admission; $15.00 for students and seniors
– Tickets are available at the box office

Photo: Richard Lee (left) and Ben Lewis (right)

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