Mild mannered Tommy (Will Sarratt) has issues with anger management and unacknowledged grief. Upset by a father bullying his family at Applebee’s (his former employer), he came close to burning down the restaurant. In denial about his brother missing for seven months, Tommy makes and sends videos to him every week. There’s never a response.
The young man is a computer whiz. He’s made the machine a sanctuary. Despite their living together, mother Anne (Marcia DeBonis) is reduced to emailing Tommy in order to communicate. She listens at his door and plies him with Pop Tarts (sugar=love).
Finally, at a loss how to help, Anne hires former co-Walmart worker Dave (Xavier Rodney) to be her son’s therapist. Dave, it turns out, is an art therapist with textbook projects involving supplies such as colored paper, markers, and balloons. Overwhelming problems of his own tend to take over their “sessions.”
The last character, Alice (Lisa Jill Anderson), with whom Tommy went to high school and on whom he has an abiding crush, manages the Starbucks in which he now works. Alice has her own dysfunctional mother and subjugated fantasies of violence.
Perhaps because they’re all the walking wounded, the four find common ground/ways to begin to heal one another.
The quirky play (with its quizzical title), though insubstantial, is not unsympathetic. It’s ably written and except for Dave’s exaggerated fury, well directed. Will Sarratt makes awkward Tommy credible. Timing lands particularly well. Marcia DeBonis has supplied the unusual Anne with ticks and mannerisms that make her interesting and whole.
Why then, didn’t this work for me? Perhaps I was unduly affected by Brian Dudkiewicz’ spare, theater of the absurd set. Despite idiosyncratic characters, the story is unfussy/direct. Every time I looked up at two walls hung with odd props which might relate to a single sentence, however, the seriousness of the play seemed false.
Mari Taylor’s costumes, on the other hand, are spot on.
Photos by Hunter Canning
Opening: Will Sarratt (Tommy), Marcia DeBonis (Anne)
Everything Is Super Great by Stephen Brown
Directed by Sarah Norris
Through December 14, 2019