BWW Review: LILY-A World Premiere Play Brings Tension to the NJ Rep Stage with an Adult Drama
"I've led a peculiar life."
by Toby in LILY
New Jersey Repertory Company (NJ Rep) continues their year-round theatre season with Lily, a world premiere play written by Christopher Daftsios and directed by Sarah Norris. Daftsios addresses taboo issues in his first full-length play and he also skillfully plays the show's main character. The nature of the production's subject matter makes it suitable for an adult only audience.
In the story, country music star, Toby Crenshaw's life is in a state of disarray with his heavy drinking, pill-popping, multiple divorces, and temperamental behavior. As is usual after a performance, his assistant and bouncer, Tommy arranges for a groupie to come to Toby's dressing room for a tryst. When Haley, a seductive teen from Georgia, is chosen, she secretly records the pair's sexual encounter on her cell phone. Toby is hardly prepared for the events that follow. Haley has devised a complex "revenge porn" plot that she believes will result in justice for herself, her mother, Lily, and her grandmother, all three of whom have had ties to Toby and his lurid past. Panic ensues as Toby and his long-time manager, Sam realize that Haley has the purpose and the power to ruin Toby's future.
The cast of Lily is very convincing in their challenging roles. Christopher Daftsios plays Toby, the egotistical, aging superstar. Joy Donze appears in the part of Haley, a troubled and determined young woman. The company also includes Adam Von Pier as Tommy and Tait Ruppert as Sam. Daftsios and Donze dominate the tense scenes, but the well-played characters by Von Pier and Ruppert round out the story. Even though the show is very intense and at times disturbing, there are flashes of humor that lighten the mood of some scenes.
NJ Rep's Creative Team has done a top job of bringing Lily to the stage. They include scenic design by Jessica Parks, lighting design by Jill Nagle; costume design by Patricia E. Doherty; and sound design/webmaster, Merek Royce Press. The Technical Director is Brian P. Snyder; Fight/Intimacy Director, Brad Lemons; Production Stage Manager, Kristen Pfeifer; and Assistant Stage Manager; Juliet Kapanjie. The Company's Artistic Director is Suzanne Barabas and the Executive Producer is Gabor Barabas.
Lily is a complex story about human vices that will make a lasting impression on its audiences. It is definitely for those who want to see an extreme, unpredictable drama. The show is being be performed now through Sunday, November 24.
Tickets are available for Lily and the other productions at New Jersey Repertory Company. The theatre is located at 179 Broadway, Long Branch, New Jersey 07740. Visit http://www.njrep.org/ or call 732-229-3166.
Photo Credit: Andrea Phox Photography