BWW Review: THE COMMONS at 59E59 is a Humorous and Relatable Modern Play
"This is a common space. We should be allowed to bring ourselves to it."
By Cliff in The Commons
59E59 Theaters continues their successful theatre season with The Commons, written by Lily Akerman and directed by Emma Miller. If you've ever lived with housemates, you'll appreciate each and every minute of this insightful, humorous, and wonderfully performed modern play. It is sure to appeal to a vast audience.
It seems that compatibility was not in the Craiglist ad when these four NYC roomates came together. Robyn is a sculptor, the self-appointed head of the apartment who has lived with a revolving door of people for long time. Janira, a young professional woman, wants more cooperation in the group. Dee, a detail oriented graduate student is frustrated trying to determine a subject for her doctoral thesis. And Cliff is a web designer who has no motivation to contribute to the well-being of the household. There is a definite tension in the air and things almost come at a breaking point when Cliff announces that his friend Anna will be coming to visit for a whole month. The foursome contends with plenty of day-to-day issues that include cleaning out the refrigerator, Cliff leaving his dirty dishes in the sink, loud sex between Cliff and Anna, and a mouse in the apartment. The Commons keenly depicts a slice of modern life especially in cities where high rents encourage living in groups.
The cast features the talents of Olivia Abiassi as Anna; Julia Greer as Dee; Ben Katz as Cliff; Olivia Khoshatefeh as Janira; and Ben Newman as Robyn. The four actors master their roles as they deliver the subtle humor of the dialogues. Scenes are not only well played, but also very authentic.
The Creative Team has done a top job of bringing The Commons to the Upper East Side stage. They include scenic design by Emmie Finckel; costume design by Dara Affholter; lighting design by Victoria Bain; sound design by Caroline Eng; property design and associate scenic design by Holden Gunster; and associate lighting design by Qi'er Luo. The Assistant Director is Clara Mooney; Dramaturg, Christine Scarfuto; Casting Director, Nicole Van Denburg; and Production Stage Manager, Hanako Rodriguez.
The Commons is a light, yet meaningful comedy about people living together with all of their quirks and differences. We are certain that our readers will completely enjoy this show.
The Commons is presented by The Hearth, a company that produces and develops new plays by women. The company seeks to challenge stereotypes, advance and complicate the conversation about feminism, and expand perceptions of what it means to be a woman.
The Commons will be performed for a limited engagement through Sunday, February 23. The run time is 100 minutes with no intermission. The performance schedule is Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30 pm; and Sunday at 2:30 pm. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison). Single tickets are $25 ($20 for 59E59 Members). Tickets are available by calling the 59E59 Box Office at 646-892-7999 or by visiting https://www.59e59.org/.
Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg