It’s fun to watch a piece develop over time. Know Theatre’s SERIALS allows that very thing. SATURDAY THE 14TH started as episodic theatre last summer and it was so popular that they’ve brought it back as a full length one-act play. Using the same cast but now directed by co-author Elizabeth Martin, the show has a shape, cohesion, and a flow that it didn’t have before.
Oh, don’t misunderstand – this was the best of the bunch (along with Jon Kovach’s THE FUNERAL) last year but Martin and her partner, Lauren Hynek, have added some foreshadowing, they’ve tightened up the script, and the actors – especially Chris Wesselman – have stepped up their game. Wesselman joined the show late the first time around; you can tell he’s having a blast playing a jerk, a custodian, and Holiday, a female neighbor. I really enjoy him.
Nik Pajic stars as “Mitch,” a man who’s life “sucks” so badly he’s ready to commit suicide. He’s joined on the bridge by Miranda McGee’s “Gail,” who just found out her husband is gay. They argue over who will jump first until they ultimately decide to make this their last day – Valentine’s Day – a night of adventure.
And it is a full night, for sure. They seek revenge on those who’ve wronged them. They tell some of the smartest toilet humor jokes ever written. And I don’t think I’m ruining it for anyone when I tell you that there’s a happy ending to this romantic comedy.
McGee is one of the most consistent actresses in Cincinnati. Her comic timing is nearly perfect and she always seems very natural on stage. Paired with her, the more inexperienced Pajic – who I shared a stage with once – keeps up nicely. He’s at his best when he plays snarky, forlorn, angry, and desperate.
For this production, they use the set of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, which is the current MainStage production at Know, and director Martin makes good use of the space, the entrances and exits, and her husband, Andrew Hungerford, repurposes his lighting nicely to set the scene for the various locations in this hour long play. Sound design, uncredited in the program, is creative and fun.
I believe that this could be an excellent screen play; with a little more character development this rom-com would easily work as a “Bridesmaids” style chick-flick. Martin and Hynek have something here; I hope they continue to develop it and shop it around. And we can all say “we saw it when.”
SATURDAY THE 14TH plays at Know Theatre tonight and again next weekend – including on Saturday, February 14th. Tickets and more information can be found here.