The Nerve has a hit on their hands…not simply because the play is so-well written (by Sofia Alvarez SIRENS, MAN SEEKIN WOMAN); not just because the actors deliver punch after punch; not just because the direction is engaging and not just because it’s relatable material….but because of ALL of that! The story, at its core, really highlights the idea that somewhere along the line we have to go for our dreams, or leave them along the side of the road. It plucks at our desire to forever stay young, all the while knowing that the ‘jig’ is up. Through all of that is the age old question, can we ever really be honest with our friends…about their lives, their opinions, their art?
The play features four characters….Kevin (AJ Breslin) the one voice unafraid to face the fact that some parts of life in your 30s really just aren’t great; Nate (Christopher Hahn) the once famous, now joy-searching ‘pay me to show-up’ guy; Lil (Shalemar Davis), the performance artist unaware that she’s unaware and Molly (Lauren Everett) a do-gooder who faces the fact it’s time to dip her toes into some less calming waters. Each of the actors portrays their character with simple realness….you know them, you ARE them.
Friend Art, listed as a comedy, is much more than just laughs. It’s poignant, it’s promising and, at times, it’s peculiar! The scenes run in a sequence spaced oddly, and that, in part, is what makes it work so well. You are interested to know what combination of characters will pop up in the next vignette. And it keeps the show moving…and it moves…at times straight-forward, at others, with an awkward twist and revelation. You will see yourself in the uncomfortable, yet relatable, scene with Molly and Nate, as they imbibe and connect with their ‘inner-selves.’ You will recognize the people in your lives, who like Kevin, never meant to bend the truth in a malicious way. You will connect with Lil in her pursuit of self, of creativity, of fulfillment without fear. You ARE these people.
When the story, which is really more of an eavesdrop on friends’ conversations, gets to the gritty discussion about ‘what is love’ and ‘what is fidelity’ and ‘what difference does it ultimately make’ we see a cast so convincing that no matter your opinion of the answer, you can defend them all! That’s probably the biggest win in Friend Art, it leaves us open to the fact that we don’t have all the answers, never have, and never will. What we really have are those folk in our lives willing tom tell us how beautiful we are, even when the truth says otherwise.
There is a lot to love about Friend Art. It reminds you that friendships are vital relationships in our loves….that honesty rarely is honest, and maybe that’s ok….that our attitudes about work and life haven’t really changed that much in 40 years….and that we are all, no matter the city, the time, the space, hoping to find that simple circle that says, ‘You’re a Mess and I Love you For That!’
The play is directed by Jenna Valyn and Kaleigh-Brooke Scheiding. Performances are at the PNC Annex May 19th – May 29th.
For tickets go to: https://nerve.link/friend-art-dyt