Really, Really @ Beck Center for the Arts, June 2-July 2, 2017
Review by Laura Kennelly
Olivia Scicolone and Molly Israel, photo by Andy Dudik
Getting drunk, casual sex, self-interest, lying, manipulation all play a part in Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Really, Really, the latest Beck Center Studio Theater offering. The play, which premiered at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia in 2012, is directed by Donald Carrier. It’s pretty much a “He said/She said” story where the truth may not ever be fully figured out. Both major witnesses, in other words, the couple who may or may not have had sex, sex which may or may not have been consensual, have reasons to lie.
Davis, (the He, played by Daniel Scott Telford) and Leigh (the She, played by Molly Israel) were so drunk (or so they claim) neither is truly sure what happened the night of the riotous party in question. Other people at the party can’t be sure either since they were also drunk and were not in Davis’ bedroom with the two. That doesn’t stop them from forming opinions based on their own self-interest.
Leigh’s fiancé Jimmy (an earnest Randy Dierkes), her political-reformer roomie Grace (Rachel Lee Kolis), and Jimmy’s pals Cooper (Chris Richards) and Johnson (Jack Schmitt) all seem familiar college stereotypes as they try (or indifferently avoid trying) to sort out what happened.
It’s only in the second act, when Leigh’s boisterous sister Hayley (a delightfully over-the-top Olivia Scicolone) swirls into the story like a trailer-park tornado, that hidden aspects of Leigh’s character appear. Hayleys’ appearance instantly perks up the action and one has to wonder if Leigh’s goal of getting a college education, a rich husband, and all that is really worth the price she is prepared to pay. Hayley seems to be living a more honest, full, and generous life.
Cameron Caley Michalak’s cleverly designed set for the Studio Theater employs a turntable in the corner that creates instant changes as the action moves between “Her” place and “His.” Stage manager Jamie R. Benetto, costume designer Jenniver Sparano, sound designer Angie Hayes, and lighting designer Trad A. Burns, all caught the “student apartment” vibe.
Bottom Line: We may never know what happened, but it’s sure fun to discuss later. While it’s set in college, it would be a mistake to see it as an indictment of “today’s generation.” It could happen anywhere hormones and alcohol, ambition and selfishness overwhelm common sense and kindness.
Really, Really runs through July 2, 2017 at the Beck Center for the Arts. For tickets or information go to beckcenter.org or call 216-521-2540 x 10. Beck Center for the Arts is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood.