Perks of Nudity
Pavement Group at EP Theater. By David Perez. Dir. Margot Bordelon. With Dina Connolly, Sarah Gitenstein, Braden Lubell.
Playwright David Perez mixes the predictable with the preposterous in his new play about three postcollege frenemies uncorking their bottled-up rage at one another when they get stranded in rural Washington. Shrill Laura (Gitenstein) has inherited a plot of land from her recently deceased stepdad, and Tina (Connolly) schemes to get caustic Frankie (Lubell) to come. Trouble is, Frankie and Laura haven’t spoken in the year since Frankie’s boyfriend left him—for Laura. When the car keys get lost in the boonies, the anger starts to flow.
Perez, also the artistic director of the spankin’-new Pavement Group, says they want to create opportunities for younger artists and draw in twentysomething audiences. If this is the way he’s going to depict them, though, they might want to politely decline. Laura and Frankie are each so self-centered they could be mistaken for black holes, while Tina is the opposite: She’s so concerned with making everyone else happy that she’s lost all sense of self. Eventually Tina gives in to the malice surrounding her, and all three show so much cruelty that it’s hard to believe they were ever friends (or friends with anyone else, really). Perez alternates the sniping with more-hipster-than-thou pop-culture references, and it doesn’t exactly add up to engaging drama. Bordelon stages the action well enough, but she seems to have directed her cast to leave sincerity at the stage door. We’re pulling for the tiresome trio to get that car started—if only because it means an end to the angst.—Kris Vire