Stage preview: The REP counts on 'The Flick' to pull you in for the long haul
April 6, 2016 12:00 AM
From left, Saladin White II, Sarah Silk and John Steffenauer.
By Sharon Eberson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Casual conversations and the performance of mundane tasks are the essentials of “The Flick,” which eavesdrops on a few hours in the lives of three underpaid, underemployed workers at a rundown Massachusetts movie theater. There are no histrionics or jaw-dropping reveals. Instead, “The Flick” dishes out a slice of life, with no particular urgency to get from curtain up to lights out.
Where: Studio Theatre at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, 222 Craft Ave., Oakland.
When: April 8 – 24, 8 p.m., Thursdays-Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets: $29, $15 seniors, $10 students; 412-392-8000 or www.pittsburghplayhouse.com.
Critic Christopher Isherwood of The New York Times, a big fan of “The Flick,” wrote, “They probe one another’s hearts, souls and sore spots the way we all do with our co-workers, in fits and starts.”
He was writing in defense of the play — winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2014 and the Obie Award for playwriting in 2013 — the latest offering from The Rep, the professional company of Point Park University.
At three hours plus an intermission, initial runs of “The Flick” in New York were punctuated by audience complaints and walkouts.
James Wolcott, writing in Vanity Fair, took the deserters to task.
“I feel no kinship with those who ejected/bailed/fled like thieves in the night at intermission during the original production,” he wrote. “They missed out big-time, depriving themselves of a slow-brew, absorbent experience so seldom offered in the hyperspace of attention-deficit culture where all phasers are on stun.”
“ ‘The Flick’ is a compelling piece with terrific writing that really pulls you in,” said The Rep director Robert Miller. “Audiences who take the ride will connect with the characters as each layer of them is revealed. Those who are willing to take the ride will be pleasantly surprised as the show unfolds. Going against the typical drama, it is both funny and moving, in Baker’s unique and quirky style.”
The acting trio for “The Flick” comprises Point Park grad Saladin White II as newcomer Avery, with John Steffenauer as Sam, a veteran of theater cleaning, and Sarah Silk as Rose, who recently has been promoted to projectionist at the single-screen Massachusetts theater that is the play’s setting. They bond over the proper way to mop up soda splashes, the merits of movies and their shared lot in life.
Aaron Bollinger, Point Park’s head of production/associate professor, is the projectionist for the play at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, but we will see little of any “flicks,” even for a play set in a movie theater. There is a twist, though.
“The projections will be out onto the audience,” he said, “to show that, say, a movie is ending and it’s time to clean up.”
The onstage set will reflect the seats in an old movie house, where we get to know Avery, Sam and Rose as they get to know each other over the course of three hours.
Sharon Eberson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1960. Twitter: @SEberson_pg.
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