BWW Review: THIS IS OUR YOUTH at Macbeth Studio
Imagine stepping off Orange Avenue into the lobby of what feels like an old-time New York Hotel. Then, you take what looks and feels like an old-time elevator up to the ninth floor where you arrive at Macbeth studio. The inside has been transformed to what appears to be the inside of an apartment belonging to a teenager from the 1980s. "Who Knows the Sun," by Velvet Underground is playing, and around the room are Frank Zappa posters. You can still hear the sounds coming from Orange avenue, which only adds to the New York feel of the apartment.
Promptly at 8:00 PM, a young man, who we will later learn is named Dennis, enters and begins to fuss around with things in the room until he appears to fall asleep on the bed. This beginning tone sets the voyeuristic mode for the entire play. His sleep is quickly interrupted by his friend, Warren, calling to buzz him up to the apartment. There is an instant connection between the two actors, with Dennis being portrayed by Jack Kelly, and Warren being portrayed by Austin Davis. The two feel like they have been best friends since little kids. It is in the instant reaction back and forth between the two where this great connection can be seen. The blocking, which was done under the direction of Jeremy Seghers, only adds to this great connection. Both actors fill both sides of the runway style stage which help the pace of the play move wonderfully. Even though there were many moments where either actor was giving a long monologue the play never felt static.
Even better than the connection between these two actors was the connection between Mr. Davis and his character's love interest, Jessica, portrayed by Monica Mulder. Through the course of the thirty minutes we get to experience the whole range of Warren and Jessica's relationship. I almost felt like I should have turned away when they began to dance and lean in for their first kiss, because I felt like I was spying on something that should have been a very private, intimate moment.
Mr. Davis did an especially nice job of filling the silence on stage, which made for a fully thought out character. Mr. Kelly did a great job of playing a pissed off douchebag teenager, but I would have liked to have seen a little more choices made. He did have a great cocaine induced panic attack in the second act, which shed new light on the character, and made me question his entire portrayal of the character. Even though Miss Mulder's entrance was blocked a little awkwardly, once she had the stage to herself she shined. There is a terrific moment where Miss Mulder stopped to ponder an answer while longingly gazing out the window, which felt completely natural and real.
The play did a wonderful job of showing what is the rollercoaster of life when you are a young teenager. Even though it was set in the 1980s, it still felt very relevant. Even the line, "Can you believe a celebrity is President," felt like something that could have easily been written today. All three actors did a great job giving into the ebb and flow of the script to allow for a beautiful two hours of voyeuristic appreciation. If you go see this show, make sure you sit in the bench seats along the wall, you are much more part of the action that way.
This is Our Youth, written by Kenneth Loergan, and directed by Jeremy Seghers, is playing at Macbeth Studio. Macbeth Studio is located at 37 N Orange Ave, Suite 900, Orlando, FL, 32801. The remaining dates are February 17, 18,19, 23, 24, and 25. Tickets are $23. The show begins promptly at 8:00 PM with no late seating allowed. There is one 15-minute intermission.