All This Intimacy reminds us that connecting with other people in this day and age is easy; however, it does take more than physical contact and a few casual conversations to develop and secure real intimacy.
At first blush, All This Intimacy appears to be a Neil Simonesque comedy with several intertwined relationships. However, after the initial jokes, the play falls into a deep black hole of rampant indulgence and abandoned responsibilities. There are some very funny lines and situations, and even some great physical comedy.
Rob Roy, well-known local actor, directs this edgy, fast-paced story and cast of characters, who all are in pursuit of their own agendas, except for one. Seth, played with great comic energy by Chris Ferreira, is the only reality check for the audience. Poor manic Seth, engaged to live-grenade Franny (Saoirse Emily Surabian) tries valiantly to keep his best friend, Ty, from self-immolation.
It is difficult to find the main protagonist, Ty (Justin Wilder), sympathetic in any way. He does have a great skill in his poetry, which allows him to bring deep feelings to others who read his work. Otherwise, Ty is completely self-absorbed. He indulges his every carnal whim on the “high” he receives from the successful release of his first book of poetry. However, soon enough, his self-created crisis boomarangs back to haunt him. Wilder as Ty takes a rather laid-back attitude toward his character, and perhaps that is appropriate, because his character takes a laissez-faire approach to the rising crises around him.
Becca (Kaitlin Maynard), Jen (Kerry Giorgi) and Maureen (Mary Paolino) all become unknowingly enmeshed in Ty’s web of rampant self-indulgence. Each of these actresses bring a strong, distinct presence to the story. Surabian is outstanding as the trigger-hair tempered woman engaged to Seth.
There are two side elements to the play that are confusing and do not appear necessary. On the right side of the stage, a map of the world was switched back and forth from the world as we know it now to Pangia, the ancient world where all the continents were fused together. It was obviously representational, but so small that it was hard to read past the first row.
On the left side of the stage is a large white board where Ty writes the title of each scene. It opened with “Labyrinth and Hot Little Thing.” These scene titles are not representational, but rather literal and don’t add anything to the production.
Playright Rajiv Joseph is a modern young writer who loves to create stories that are provocative. He often delves fearlessly into racial situations, however, All This Intimacy explores current issues of morality. There might be a generational divide as to how this play is perceived. It is funny, but the story is also dark.
All This Intimacy plays its second weekend, May 17 and 18 at Theatre 82, at 82 Rolfe Square, Cranston, RI. For tickets, call the Artists’ Exchange at 401-490-4975. For more information, you can visit their website at www.artists-exchange.org. For more information about Next Generation Theatre, visit them on Facebook.