by Patrick Marber
Two strangers have a chance meeting. Two others are waiting in the wings. Soon, all four are intertwined in a world of sex, relationships, and the drama that comes with both. Off the Wall Theatre is proud this February to present "Closer", a steamy drama by Patrick Marber.
Written in 1997, the show is set in London. Daniel Woolf meets a stripper named Alice Ayres and takes her to a hospital after she has been hit by a cab. A flirtatious dance starts, as they wait for a doctor to look at her leg. The doctor who they meet is Larry. Alice and Dan begin a relationship as he writes a book about her life. It is arranged for a photographer named Anna to take a publicity shot of Dan for the book, but more than a photo develops when Dan realizes he is in love with Anna. Alice overhears the conversation, confronts Anna, and has her photo also taken. Dan, unable to shake his attraction, pretends to be Anna in an adult chat room, unbeknownst to Larry on the other end. Larry arranges to meet Anna (really Dan) at an aquarium which (unknown to Dan) Anna is really at. She and Larry meet, start a relationship, and then the dance begins as couples change, new relationships form, and power struggles begin. The complexities of the relationships mirror many of the ups and downs in our own troubled lives as we struggle to get "CLOSER." "Closer" began on the London stage, then transferred to Broadway, and ultimately became a hit film. Audiences relate to the desires, drives and fantasies of the characters. They also find terribly compelling the examination of the roles physical attraction and sex play in the shaping of our relationships. In a witty, incisive, thrilling way, the play asks us to examine exactly what it is we are looking for in our lives.
Off the Wall brought a unique mix of interesting actors together to tackle this difficult show. OTW regular Liz Mistele played Alice. Mistele was seen here in the title role in "Gigi", but has been all over town the last couple years; at Soulstice Theatre, Sunset Playhouse, and Windfall Theatre among others. This was her 24th OTW production. Dan was played by OTW newcomer Ryan Johnson. Ryan was seen as Keith Burgess in Sunset Playhouse's production of "Stage Door". As photographer Anna, we welcomed back Jocelyn Ridgely. Jocelyn received rave reviews for her multiple parts in our production of "Trainspotting" in the fall of 2012, and was also featured in a production of "Psycho Beach Party" in 2010. She has also worked in with other companies around town such as Boulevard Ensemble. Finally directing the production, and playing Larry, was Jeremy C. Welter. Jeremy was previously seen as Gaston in "Gigi", and has been featured on stage as Hamlet, Macbeth, and Mack the Knife in "Threepenny Opera". Welter has been in over 50 shows at OTW, and has directed several including "Shadow Box", "The Sisters Rosensweig", and "Trainspotting". This was his first lead role in a production he directed since "Shadow Box".
The show featured a set designed by Technical Director David Roper. An elevated stage at the middle of the theatre was used with minimal dressing to imply settings instead of presenting them. Lighting effects and simple benches and chairs was all there was to support the actors who set the scenes through the work of words.