'Trouble Cometh' at the San Francisco Playhouse
Reality vs fiction, and cost of truth and love is all a game in a new comic thriller now at the San francisco Playhouse. The world premiere of TROUBLE COMETH is a sharp in your face battle of media culture and the truth revealing itself in a world of selfies reality television. Artistic Director Bill English says "Richard Dresser has a vicious sense of satire. In the tradition of Moliere, he uses humor as a scapel to peel away the layers of pretence and falseness that haunt our culture".
Richard Dresser has done a superb job moving his characters with their cutting edge media dialog “why does my dog pee on my baby”. May Adrales’ direction is paced well the dialog is “Billy Wilder” classy, and the laughs are easy.
The story places Joe (Kyle Cameron) who just scored a dream job as a reality show producer, who is about to be married. His boss Dennis (Patrick Russell) - the perfect alpha A hole, both are given the task from the upper ends to pitch a new reality show with only a 72 hour deadline.
Dresser’s’ new play is smart and comes at you as fast a you can change your channel. The power of this production is sometimes upstaged by Nina Ball’s brilliant set and is basically a black box resembling our own media box’s we stare at for hours. Balls set is one of the stars of this show with the eye balling light design by Seth Reiser, the scene changes from an office conference room to a trendy after work bar are pounding as the lights arch from scene to scene. From a black out to a blinding effective scene changes that will make you wish you brought your sunglasses. The sound design by Seth Reiser has a bit of Fellini Satyricon feel with some african bounce that adds to the pushing pop of each scene change, its brilliant.
Cameron is edgy and engaging on stage playing the kiss ass Joe, as he deals with the constant harassment from Dennis. Russell is very funny at times rolling through Dressers smart script. The three women on stage are also excellent at the speed of this play. Liz Sklar plays the flirtatious office assistant, Kelly who is into everyone's game including Joe’s fiancee Susan played by Marissa Kelty. Management is very keenly played by Nandita Shenoy as she plays with escotic flair of fear. She wears Tatjana Genser costumes like a queen, and the rest of the cast is looking perfect in the sleek look of the show, the pastels on the men and sharpness of the female leads.
May Adrales direction is fast and then it goes cold and quiet as she lets the characters pause and let the audience think and second guess the next move in the story within a story. It is all funny and disturbing, especially when boss Dennis wants a rape scene in the new show, Joe draws a line and says no. The narcissism and tone of the second act creep up fast as all the company reveals themselves. The 11th floor executes become the villains yet as the story plays out and we see that ourselves as the victims as we get a turn for the reality of TROUBLE COMETH. We could all be in our own reality show, but probably not as clever, funny and dark as Richard Dressers brillant take on reality.
San Francisco Playhouse World Premiere
By Richard Dresser, Directed by May Adrales
With, Kyle Cameron, Marissa Keltie, Patrick Russell, Nandita Shenoy, Liz Sklar, Darek Burkowski, Katharine Otis, Marjan Safa
Mat 12th through June 27, 2015
Tickets at sfplayhouse.org
Photo’s by Jessica Palopoli