Post Modern Living
By Richard Sheinmel; Directed by Jason Jacobs
Runs through 5.2.10
La MaMa, 74A East 4th Street
BOTTOM LINE: A musical, autobiographic tale of New York living that exhibits heartfelt and amusing stories of love and hope. It's filled with lively characters that make for a delightful evening.
Richard Sheinmel's new play, Post Modern Living
, is a follow up to his previous autobiographical play, Modern Living
, performed in 2006 at the same theatre. La MaMa's newly renovated space offers an alternative theatrical environment with spacious table seating, a bar, and a band that welcomes you in with a smooth jazz atmosphere. Sheinmel uses the brick walled space to good effect and incorporates lounge elements throughout the show. The setting is a refreshing change from the usual off-off-Broadway feel.
Post Modern Living stars Sheinmel and is a part theatrical, part musical venture into the life and trials of the protagonist Mitch and his friends and family. As the title suggests, the play matches its rhythm to that of the modern city it finds itself in, as the hero is caught up in his daily routine: taking taxis, going swimming, folding laundry, and visiting the doctor, as well as a constant barrage of phone conversations. As the story quickly moves from situation to situation, cleverly staged by Jason Jacobs on a minimalistic set by John McDermott, Mitch begins to discover the meaning behind initially irrelevant occurrences and that life is full of unexpected surprises.
The supporting cast, spearheaded especially well in the second half by the wonderful Wendy Merritt and the underutilized Briana Davis, fleshes out Mitch's world and delivers it with witty and natural dialogue. The strong script moves briskly and instills the play with an undeniable charm.
Post Modern Living
covers a lot of ground with its material and provides a fresh insight into personal connections, the downtown gay lifestyle, health, spirituality, friendship, family, and trust. As with many autobiographical plays the plot can initially come across as scattered but it comes together nicely as context for a subplot dealing with Mitch's mother and her struggle with breast cancer. The musical numbers are fitting when sung by the cast, but the musical transitions, written by Clay Zambo and performed by Chris Orbach, occasionally have trouble meshing with the tone and quality of the superior script.
(Post Modern Living
runs through May 2nd at the La MaMa, 74A East 4th street. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 10pm and Sundays at 5:30pm. The show runs approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Tickets are $18, $13 for students and seniors and can be purchased at 212-475-7710 or www.lamama.org