Talkin' Broadway Regional News & Reviews: Cleveland - "On an Average Day" - 10/20/14
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CLEVELAND
Regional Reviews by David Ritchey

On an Average Day
none too fragile theater


Sean Derry and Mark Mayo
This script is a large onion. Slowly remove layer after layer of the onion. At some point in the peeling process, tears fill your eyes and, later, maybe a few tears run down your cheek. That's On an Average Day.

none too fragile theater offers this two-act play on what is not an average night in the theater. The script, by John Kolvenbach, deals with a single afternoon in the lives of two brothers, Robert (Sean Derry) and Jack (Mark Mayo). Robert has committed a crime and may go to prison. Yet, he's still living in a small, cluttered apartment.

Impressively large stacks of bundled newspapers muddle the stage. The dirty kitchen is cluttered with dishes and kitchen appliances. The refrigerator is so dirty that when Jack dares place a hand in to retrieve a beer, he is overcome by the stench.

Robert looks grungy with holes in his pants and sweater. He may need a shower. He lives in the apartment with this cluttered, dirty kitchen. Robert seems at the end of his life—he's depressed, truly unhappy and desperately in need of companionship

Jack, Robert's brother, stops by for a visit. Jack is married and has two small children. But Jack's life is not much better than Robert's. As the story progresses the two men spend a good deal of time talking about their shared childhood and their father, who walked out on them on an average day.

Robert is mentally unstable. At first, Jack's visit seems to be an opportunity to check on his baby brother. Jack has taken care or protected Robert at various times in their lives. But Jack has other issues. He arrives with a brown sandwich bag. Robert thinks the bag contains a sandwich or a treat. But, no, the bag conceals a pistol. When Robert finds the pistol, he thinks Jack has come to kill him. Maybe Jack does plan to let Robert die.

Does Jack want to kill Robert? Does Jack want Robert to kill him? The answers to those questions are slowly revealed as the onion is peeled.

The visit of these two men is the subject of On an Average Day.

Typical of most plays which feature siblings, the two men talk about their childhoods and what is true and what is false about their lives. They discuss and fight about what happened and didn't really happen. Their father seems to be the source of the pain they both feel as adults.

Sean Derry continues to be one of the best actors in this area. Playing Robert gives him an opportunity to show a range of emotions not often seen on local stages. Mark Mayo has developed as an actor and holds his own on the stage with Derry. Their performances in On an Average Day are worth the cost of an evening in the theater.

This is the company that received the "Best Non-Musical Award" from the Cleveland Critics' Circle.

On an Average Day continues through October 26, 2014, at 1841 Merriman Road, Akron, Ohio. For ticket information, call 330-671-4563 or visit www.nonetoofragile.com.

The next show offered by none too fragile theater will be Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize winning play Topdog / Underdog, starting November 14. In addition, none too fragile theater will take its production of Possum Dreams by Ed Falco (New York Times best selling novelist for "Family Corleone," the prequel to "The Godfather") to New York City for performances March 18 through March 28. Directed by Sean Derry, Possum Dreams will feature Leighann Delorenzo and Andrew Narten. This production will be in Theatre 54, part of the Shelter Studios located at West 54th Street and Broadway.

On an Average Day
Playwright: John Kolvenbach
Robert: Sean Derry
Jack: Mark Mayo
Directors: Sean Derry and Mark Mayo
Assistant Director and Stage Manager: Robert Branch
Set Design: Sean Derry
Lights: Brian Kenneth Armour and Sean Derry
Website, Accounting, Box office and Promotion: Jaysen Mercer

- David Ritchey



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