Monday, December 19, 2016

Public Exposure by Market Garden Theatre

A bracing antidote to the holiday season's surfeit of sweetness, Public Exposure is a play that starts strong and maintains that drive all the way to the end.

The play is written by Keith Hovis, who also wrote the brilliant musical Teenage Misery. This piece is very different from that tongue-in-cheek horror-musical mashup, but provides ample evidence that Hovis is a playwright to watch.

Produced by Market Garden Theater, the Public Exposure experience starts with a rather adventurous trek to the performance space. In a neighborhood that seems to house mostly artists' spaces, you'll finally find the virtually unmarked but correct building. You'll follow a long series of stairways and hallways to get to the room called Maker Space Northeast. The unconventional space looks like a mess as you take a seat in an assortment of chairs hugging the walls of the space. Seating is truly limited, so definitely reserve tickets and arrive early if you attend.

But then the play begins, and it's all worth it. God bless small theater in unconventional spaces! The play opens and we are in the place where Ford (Nick Wolf) has been living (and partying) since losing his job. His friend and coworker Jen (Marci Lucht) comes to see him and gradually the story unfolds as she tries to interest him in a new business enterprise--basically, the opposite of online reputation defenders. When Hannah, another coworker, (Marika Proctor) drops by, things get increasingly complicated.

More than anything, the beauty in this play is in the tight, acerbic and witty script by Keith Hovis, who is SO on my ones to watch list. Considering this is the first time that this play has been performed, it's amazingly polished. The dialogue feels natural, even as the characters discuss the online ruination of others. And the other wonderful thing about this show is the ability to see such terrific talent up close and in-depth. All three actors do a kick-ass job.

Yay new plays! Yay fresh new talent!