Here are my thoughts on ANY GIVEN MONDAY, which closed last Saturday night.
My mother saw this show and said it was one of the funniest show she had ever seen – one of the best evenings of theater she had experienced in Richmond in her 30+ years as a regular season subscriber to many local theater companies.
I failed to see what she saw in it but to each her own.
The script was funny enough, a man acts out a lifelong fantasy in an effort to support his friend who is suffering from the pain of his wife leaving him for another man, but the script had its flaws and for me fell completely flat halfway into the second act where I found myself gazing around the room and thinking, “Crap, I could be snuggled up in my comfy bed right now instead of here enduring this drivel.” At that point Lenny, played by David T. Zimmerman and Starlet Knight (would make an excellent burlesque stage name), who played Lenny’s wife, Risa, were engaged in a non-plot moving conversation that had something to do with her affair or conditions on her returning home or something- I can’t even remember it was that tedious.
Part of the problem with this production was a complete lack of connection between any of the characters, a directorial problem rather than a script issue. The show was horribly miscast. Zimmerman must be almost the same age as Kerry McGee who played his daughter, Sarah while, Knight, had on make-up that made her look much older than Zimmerman and so pale under the lights against her shock of red hair that I was reminded of the Joker of the Batman Cartoon series. Although Nicholas Aliff who played Mickey the friend of Lenny, seemed a contemporary of the latter, the two had zero chemistry and seemed oddly matched as friends.
Ahhhh,chemistry, that mysterious element that binds a cast together and makes their character relationships believable. Directors are responsible for generating chemistry between actors when it is organically absent and there was none that I could discern amongst this group. This is surprising as Director, Shanea N. Taylor, is usually better at this. It was like watching four different monologues happening simultaneously.
There were props issues as well. All the action takes place in the family room of Lenny and Risa’s home. There is considerable emphasis on Risa’s concern for the preservation of the furniture implying high-end stuff. Her costumes and manner would also indicate sophisticated taste while the room was furnished inconsistently, a light blue velour covered Lay Z Boy chair paired with a contemporary couch covered with a striped wool blanket and a light-colored inexpensive chest for a coffee table. The decor of the room didn’t make sense for the character’s taste and the demands of the script. It was more “early attic” than coordinated chic.
I did enjoy the concept behind the play of carrying out a murder and the philosophical implications of that action. In fact despite the “connection” problems, I enjoyed the first act fairly well. But maybe I missed something regarding the collective whole. Who knows. I honestly have to give this one a “C-” grade. It just seems like the level of talent involved with this show could do better even considering the flaws of the script.
Looking forward to TIME STANDS STILL in April.