Different characters take tiny steps forward in life. P

The Secret of Life

An evening of thematically-linked monologues.

Cast size: 4 women, 2 men

A collection of monologues examining six thematically connected characters as they take tiny, momentous steps forward in their lives.

Irene: An ex-junkie gourmet deli owner meets her old best friend and searches for the secret of life. Published in One-on-One: The Best Women’s Monologues for the 21st Century; Applause Books, 2007

Carla: A self-help fitness guru pitches her unique diet plan, ‘Shit or Get Off the Pot’

Robert: A painfully shy man engages in a sexual relationship with a woman with the help of binoculars.

Cherry Bomb: A stripper memorizes Lady Macbeth’s speech for an upcoming audition and weighs the balance of her existence while tantalizing her audience.

Bess: An abandoned mother of two contemplates her life in the midst of aborting a third child.Sterling: An ‘over it’ gay man waits for his Prince Charming in a blowjob parlor

Sterling: An ‘over it’ gay man waits for his Prince Charming in a blowjob parlor.

Press this LINK for The Secret of Life on New Play Exchange

THE SECRET OF LIFE (Backstage review)



Although playwright David Simpatico may not have set out to write a tour de force for six actors, in “The Secret of Life” that is exactly what he has done. Under the astute direction of Roger Mrazek, the performance is at such a pitch as to be a thrilling hour and 10 minutes. Credit Simpatico’s ear for the exact reproduction of colloquial speech, and his eye for the truly eccentric.

Simpatico’s material is not particularly fresh. However, these monologues as performed are convincing, uninhibited, and commanding. Speaking directly to the audience, the ensemble works at a fever pitch which grabs the viewer, never letting up for a moment. The play’s theme is that there isn’t one secret to life, but one for each of us. Joanne Genelle’s upbeat Carla advertising a new home weight-training program sets the tone, asking if we “gaze in the microwave and dream of the secret of life.” We are at first embarrassed by Bob Yarnall’s Robert as he watches the lady across the street through binoculars, but when she responds, we realize that he may have found the only access to love for which he is capable. William Flatley’s Sterling is a hustler who recounts his daily routine while awaiting a second meeting with the love of his life who he suspects, from his jaded vantage, will fail to show up. Remember “Zip,” the stripper’s song in “Pal Joey”? Anne Lilly’s Cherry Bomb surprises us as she speaks her thoughts while working in a strip club–mentally rehearsing her audition for Ontario’s Shakespeare Festival. Susan Kurowski’s performance almost overcomes the thinness of the material as Bess goes through the pain of an abortion which is supposed to be over in three minutes. Running among the other scenes is the story of Irene, the deli lady who has been to the bottom and back, as she serves her unforgotten tenth grade sweetheart. Although Jane Young makes her an unforgettable, three-dimensional character, Irene has a story that is just not interesting enough to sustain six scenes. The production is further held together by the use of the same three colors in both Anthony Costa’s setting and Shelly Norton’s costume design. Brilliant lighting by Matt Berman focuses attention on each actor totally.

Produced by Linda Ames Key in association with Watermark Theater and Lynn Seippel, at the Mint Theater, 311 W. 43rd St., NYC, Nov.


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