Photo by Don Kellogg

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Suicide, Incorporated

 Andrew Hinderaker, a fresh, young playwright is having his moment in the spotlight.  Specifically, the spotlight several times a week in the Roundabout Theater Company's New Play Initiative.  Mr. Hinderaker's jolting and emotionally charged new work, Suicide, Incorporated, is being produced in the Black Box Theater of the Roundabout Underground.   This play marks the Roundabout's 6th new play in the space and, without a doubt, this one is as powerful if not more-so than the previous - and the bar was already set fairly high.

Part dark-comedy, part hurts-your-heart-to-the-bone drama - this Mr. Hinderaker handles the subject matter with aplomb.  As I have come to expect at the RU, this black-box is way more than your average run-down black-box.  Professional quality sets, lighting, and sound are a benefit this black-box gets by being associated with such a great theater company upstairs.  Not disappointing this time around either, Daniel Zimmerman (Set Design), Zach Blane (Lighting Design) and Chad Raines (Sound/Music) bring their 'A'-game to the show.

Director Jonathan Berry might consider trimming up a few scenes here and there where the concepts are needlessly repeated, but these are nit-picky finer points not the fundamentals I'm talking about here. His otherwise keen direction was clearly reflected through the actors, all of whom turned in top-notch performances - Gabriel Ebert (Jason), Toby Leonard Moore (Scott), Corey Hawkins (Perry), Jake O'Connor (Tommy),  James McMenamin (Norm), and Mike DiSalvo (Officer).

Without spoiling anything here, the play concerns a certain suicide note writing company and the people who work there.  One recent hire, Jason, seems to be set to help his clients in the opposite way of his boss, Scott's,  wishes.  His motivations regarding his behavior toward his new client (Norm), may have something to do with his brother, Tommy.

Immerse yourself in this 85 minute intermission-less, emotionally charged drama to find out exactly what the buzz is all about.  For only $20, the theatre-for-your-dollar ratio is about as high as it can get.  As with all the previous RU productions, the subtitle of this play aptly sums things up - "Never a customer complaint".