Evan Wyler has just joined the ranks of published authors.
He’s a bit naïve, and not quite sure how such success will alter his life. So
when the professional magazine photographer suggests he take off his shirt for
the photo shoot, he does it. And when that leads him to meet the unbelievable
Alexa Vere de Vere who loves new artists and wants to hire him to write her
outlandish autobiography, he does it. And when she asks him to pay for
everything with his credit card for which she will reimburse him, he does it.
Not realizing what is obvious to everyone else – that the artist-loving Alexa
is a sort of artist herself.
Douglas Carter Beane’s satirical comedy slams fame-pursuing
artists and those who blindly choose perception over reality. The play feels a
bit rushed and disjointed at first, but it’s simply trying to make us feel the
rush and confusion of the new writer propelled into life in the fast lane. A
writer who, as bees in honey drown, becomes so overcome by his own good fortune
that he can’t handle it. Everything slows down when the writer’s world stops
spinning, and as he begins to learn more about the one-and-only Alexa Vere de
And Catherine Chengery is just the actress for the
role – a chameleon who switches back and forth between her alter egos to get
what she wants out of her bigger-than-life life. Sometimes she’s a real person
with creative ambition, and sometimes she’s a captivating name-dropper who can
play people like a harp and charm the pants off a gay man. In both roles, she
Anthony Gianna is the gay writer Evan who falls for
Alexa’s charms, and then becomes obsessed with finding out how and why. He does
a nice job as the naïve young writer who gets swept up in perceived success. Noah
Strozier is a believable Mike Stabinsky, the laidback former friend of
Alexa’s, and as comic relief with his over-the-top suit salesman. Other fine
performances come from Patrick Wills as one of Alexa’s many past victims
now trying to move on with his life, and Sara Cobb as Patrick’s amusing
secretary and as a not-too-bright young star who has every good intention of
helping Evan sting Alexa.
Director Jay Seller’s production flows
perfectly throughout, from the crazy early scenes as we get swept up in fame to
the slower pace of the revealing second act. The flow is helped along nicely by
the movable sets that smoothly slide off- and on-stage (with, of course, the
help of a great tech crew).
Performed April 19-20, 2007.
National Youth Theatre
~ Cast ~
Evan Wyler: Anthony Gianna
Alexa Vere de Vere: Catherine Chengery
Photographer/Swen/Clerk/Waiter: Kevin Lerma
Morris Kaden: Patrick Wills
Ronald/Skunk/Mike Stabinsky: Noah Strozier
Secretary/Bethany/Ginny/Singer/Muse: Sara Cobb
Amber/Illya/Denise/Muse/Carla/News Clerk: Danielle Brown
Director: Jay Seller
Lighting and Sound Design: Chris Hong
Stage Manager: Sarah Reynolds