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The Actors Company Theatre Presents Christopher Durang's "Beyond Therapy" at the Beckett Theatre
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The Actors Company Theatre Presents Christopher Durang's "Beyond Therapy" at the Beckett Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

TACT/The Actors Company Theatre
(TACT Website)

Beyond Therapy

By Christopher Durang
Directed by Scott Alan Evans

At the
Beckett Theatre
(Theatre Row Website)
410 West 42nd Street

Mark Alhadeff, Cynthia Darlow, Jeffrey C. Hawkins,
Karl Kenzler, Liv Rooth, Michael Schantz

Set Design: Thomas Cariello
Lighting Design: Mary Louise Geiger
Sound Design: Jill BC Du Boff
Costume Design: Kim Krumm Sorenson
Publicist: Richard Hillman
Props: John Creenan
Production Stage Manager: Jeff Meyers
Asst. Stage Manager: Kelly Burns
Casting: Kelley Gillespie
TACT General Manager: Christy Ming-Trent
Marketing: The Pekoe Group

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 28, 2014

Christopher Durangís 1981 Beyond Therapy, now in revival in a TACT production at the Beckett Theatre, is like a sitcom without the laugh track. An early 80ís sitcom at that. In fact, it was so immediately forgettable that I had to review the program to remember any high points, which were, alas, the scenic change interludes, when secondary actors and stage hands danced on and off stage under a strobe lightís reflections, to disco tracks. Now, that was eye-catching. Up front, I should mention the high quality plays that TACT has produced, like The Cocktail Party, Happy Birthday, and Children, all directed by Scott Alan Evans, but here the material at hand was not worth the effort. Nothing is more agonizing to watch than outdated humor that depends on the lines. This is not a Honeymooners rerun, with over the top hilarious and familiar characters. This was like a retro fraternity skit after too many beers.

Prudence (Liv Rooth) and Bruce (Mark Alhadeff) meet in a pub on a blind date, having answered each otherís personal ads. Each has a therapist, Prudence sees Stuart (Karl Kenzler), while Mark sees Charlotte (Cynthia Darlow). Bruce has a live-in lover, Bob (Jeffrey C. Hawkins), and Andrew (Michael Schantz) is the pubís waiter. After a failed first date encounter, bubbling into Bruceís tears, both Prudence and Bruce visit their psychiatrists. Prudenceís shrink, Stuart, is coarse, misogynistic, and a predator, afraid of losing easy office prey and a weekly check Bruceís shrink, Charlotte, stammers on every word, using thesaurus techniques to find her voice, while using a stuffed dog as a prop. Bob tries guilt and obstacles to keep from losing Bruce, and Andrew the waiter gets an encore night of entertainment, when Bruce and Prudence answer a second set of ads. Nothing is harder to pull off than good comedy, because the deliverers (actors) must be funny to look at, funny to listen to, perfectly timed, and be quick with great lines. Not one of the TACT actors (except for the dancing, mugging, scene changers) was actually funny. Pathetic, immature, needy, yes. Funny, no.

Scott Alan Evans needed to direct the cast as he directed the interludes, or, for that matter as he directed T.S. Eliotís The Cocktail Party, steeped in dry humor. Thomas Carielloís set is well suited to the scenic changes from pub, to two psychiatristís offices, to Bruceís living room. Kim Krumm Sorensonís costumes could be 80ís or whatever, as they, too, unfortunately, became as forgettable as the show. What were not forgettable were the disco interludes.

Mark Alhadeff and Liv Rooth
in Durang's "Beyond Therapy"
Courtesy of Marielle Solan Photography

Jeffrey C. Hawkins, Mark Alhadeff, Liv Rooth
in Durang's "Beyond Therapy"
Courtesy of Marielle Solan Photography

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at