Center Stage: Don’t miss this classic in the making
The Theatre Conspiracy has hit the jackpot with this winner of Conspiracy’s annual new play contest; Hal Borden’s hysterically funny “A Position of Relative Importance.”
Let me say right at the top, call now (239) 936-3239 and see this blockbuster laugh riot which only plays May 14-16 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee May 17.
The premise of the play is a simple one: A young guy named Frank Truman (Trevor Beauvois Kinney) needs a job. Unfortunately, someone has been using his name (Frank Truman) on the internet to post all sorts of snide commentary. This becomes a cause celebre, as well as a case of mistaken identity, spoiling his chances of finding work. Frank’s resume reports he has a masters in philosophy from NYU, also that he’s worked at Starbucks where he was nominated as “Barista of the month.”
What the resume doesn’t say is that he lives at home back in his own room after crashing in the basement for some months, has no girl in his life and knows little if anything that is even remotely tied into earning a living. Circumstances connect him and his internet blogger, one Joseph Silverman (a local favorite Jim Yarnes). The meeting, the premise and the dialogue in this scene are some the evening’s funniest, in a whole evening of hilariously funny moments. Silverman in a fleeting moment of regret arranges a job interview with a mysterious company that he happens to own. How frank and truthful Frank Truman will be and how far he’ll go to land this job is what this delightful play is all about.
For a first play Hal Borden has crafted a very fine play, he has a great ear for dialogue, senses comic timing and how to set a wonderful pace so laughs build one on top of another, with enough room to catch your breath. He has drawn and fleshed out real people, that are three dimensional, folks we all recognize as neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers. There are back stories to all of his characters so that they never seem flat or cartoonish. Nothing in Borden’s writing is predictable or redundant, or so far out that it doesn’t read possible. That in my book is a good new playwright who deserves the great production, direction and acting skills that “A Position of Relative Importance” got from the Theatre Conspiracy.
Now for the particulars. First, let me acknowledge the fine direction and casting done by Stuart Brown, then the first rate and imaginative set design by Bill Taylor, along with excellent light/sound from Tiffany Campbell. High praise indeed goes to the top of the line, first rate cast.
Jim Yarnes as Joseph Silverman wrung laughs out of the curmudgeonliest, curmudgeon I’ve encountered since Scrooge or Doc Martin (actually a combination of the two would not be remiss). Trevor Beauvois-Kinney proved once again what a fine young actor he is, going from confusion to affirmation, from milquetoast to mighty mouse in a heartbeat, and creating mirth filled mayhem which led from giggles to guffaws.
Thomas Marsh plays Trevor Stevens to the absolute hilt, and is a total hurricane of humor with his own unique form of blustering delivery. Wow, what a performance!
Chelsea Salmon made an auspicious Theatre Conspiracy debut in her role of Audrey Banks. I’m sure we are going to see much more of this interesting actress. Once again Dale Hoover in the minor role of Roger Billingsley proved once again that there are no minor roles in any play. Well done, Roger.
So now the question is where does the first rate, first play by Hal Borden go from here? I feel this is one of those delightful first efforts that might just “make it,” once it is published, to more theatrical productions, (it is perfect summer stock material), college productions, and then onward and upward from there.
Meanwhile, like I said at the beginning of this review, phone the Theatre Conspiracy box office now at (239) 936-3239 and see this funny, funny comedy.
Remind ’em when you phone Marsha sent you.