Adam Bock's Thursday is a
Also see Richard's review of The Sex Habits of American Women
Thursday is a series of stylish scenes about amusing encounters among a group of eight characters who are friends, siblings, and lovers - both current and exes. Marcy (Chloe Broznan), a former television star, returns to her hometown. It appears that her television days are over because of several stints in drug rehab. Marcy's ex-boyfriend George (Craig Neibaur) and his current girlfriend, the very possessive Allison (Cassie Beck), are not very happy about Marcy's return. Allison's girlfriends Janet (Jibz Cameron) and Charlene (Lisa Steindler) form a cranky backup to make sure that Marcy is not welcome back home. To all of these shenanigans, add George's brother Pete (Jason Frazier), who has broken up with his lover Jimmy (David Ryan Smith) and is now being courted by ex-druggie Alex (Robert Martinez). The quick paced scenes include a fallen tree, overcooked bacon, a neurotic jealous boy and girlfriend and even a scene involving "greeters" at a suspiciously named Jolly Mart.
Adam Bock's dialogue borders on a David Mamet vs. vaudeville "Laugh-In" style in many of the scenes. It is almost machine gun patter, but highly stylized. There are sharp encounters, a lot of fun, pointless conversation and even interesting meditative silences. The cartoonish characters are losers in love and jobs, and one can't even hold onto his construction tools.
Thursday's young ensemble is marvelous, and the timing of the scenes and conversation is impeccable. Chloe Broznan as Marcy has a wonderful command of light comedy acting. Her speech patterns as she describes past pill popping experiences are beautifully disconnected. Craig Neibaur is great as a fumbling ex-boyfriend who seems dazed about everything and shouldn't be handling a construction tool. Jibz Cameron and Liza Steindler are excellent as a pair; Jibz is a real sourpuss about life, overcooked bacon and Marcy, while Liza quietly goes around always with something to eat or drink in her hand. She loves slurping her plastic mug of coffee
Jason Frazier is outstanding in his role as Pete, a revengeful, astringent person who believes that the only right way to do things is his way. He raves and rants at his ex Jimmy and believes they should get back together. As the ex-lover says, "I still love you, it is that I just don't like you." Robert Martinez is fine as the ex's new beau. Cassie Beck is fun as a neurotic, possessive woman who loves to scream and jump up and down a lot.
Director Kent Nicholson has a great way with the material. He moves these scenes fast, yet some are almost operatic in structure. The director incorporates cartoon music courtesy of David Molina throughout the production. The brightly sparse set by James Faerron, lit by Christopher Studley, is reminiscent of a television sitcom studio.
Thursday plays through November 2 at the Thick House on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. For tickets call 415-821-4849 or visit www.encoretheatreco.org.