By Tulis McCall
When you enter Theatre C at 59E59 Theaters you will notice that the floor of the stage has been decorated with conflicting lines and arrows that are colored in the extreme. They are meant to be noticed and, perhaps, distracting. Feel free to take them as omens for what is to come. Less Than 50% is a distraction and, unfortunately, not much more.
This is the story of the author and lead actor Gianmarco Soresiand his supposedly real girlfriend Laura. Of course we all suspect that this is not his real girlfriend, and thus begins the tail of the snake who is eating it. Gianmarco is a standup comedian, which he demonstrates with a quick routine at the beginning of the evening. The jokes are sometimes funny, but way too loud (Did no one do a sound check? This is the smallest theatre of in the joint)
Apparently, it is also influenced by the work of Charlie Kaufman, which might be important if you know who Charlie Kaufman is. I required a refresher course.
The show takes us through the history of the relationship with Gianmarco and Laura. It is not remarkable in any particular way. He does try out some standup on her that is pretty good – this guy can be very, very funny. Laura is the first to fall in love. Gianmarco follows some time later. We go through the dumping in an Uber, the marriage scare, the pregnancy scare, and the career scare where she goes off to Hollywood to get work. Then there is the actual PLAY scare where she returns to New York and they mount the play that they are actually in while we actually watch. Which brings us perilously close to actual time and the actual room that we are actually in.
Did I lose you? Well, imagine how I felt watching this play – that would be l-o-s-t.
On the plus side Soresi is a talented performer who is eager to try and try and try. He is often a pleasure to watch. Ditto Hannah Hale who is the actor playing the real Laura. They are both charming and talented actors and I look forward to seeing them again sometime in a play that is not defying gravity as well as logic. And who was that other woman we saw, anyway?
“It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Where is Churchill when you need him?
Less Than 50% by Gianmarco Soresi, Directed by Jen Wineman
WITH Gianmarco Soresi and Hannah Hale
The design team includes Ashleigh Poteat (set design); Driscoll Otto (lighting design); Samantha Rose Lind (costume design); Emily Auciello (sound design); John Erickson (projection design); and Leila Ben-Abdallah (prop design).
9E59 Theaters (Val Day, Artistic Director; Brian Beirne, Managing Director) is thrilled to welcome Gianmarco Soresi’s unromantic comedy LESS THAN 50%, directed byJen Wineman. Produced by Robin Milling in association with James Brent White, Todd & Elizabeth Donovan, Joann Farda, Jesse Kearney, and New Light Theater Project, through Sunday, September 1. The performance schedule is Tuesday – Friday at 7:30PM; Saturday at 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM; and Sunday at 2:30 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59thStreet, between Park and Madison). Single tickets are $25 ($20 for 59E59 Members). Tickets are available by calling Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or by visiting www.59e59.org.