Theater Review: AT THE TABLE (Road Theatre at Lankershim Arts Center in North Hollywood)

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by Joan Alperin on May 18, 2019

in Theater-Los Angeles

THERE’S A LOT AT THIS TABLE

At the Table takes place in Catskills, a resort area in the low mountains in E New York State that I hold dear to my heart since I spent many summers there — as many Jewish New Yorkers did. The setting is the house of Nate (Christian Prentice), who has invited his thirty-something diverse group of liberal friends (gay, straight, white, black, bisexual, Asian, feminist, child-rearing and childless) for a weekend party, which includes pot and liquor — actually, a lot of liquor.

With no cell phones, computers, or internet, they have no choice but to (gasp) speak to one another. It doesn’t take long for these friends to discover that they are not as liberal or like-minded as they profess to be. The friends are over-educated as well as extremely opinionated and equally insecure.

From the top you know you’re in for a very intense over-the-top ride. Stuart (Justin Okin) immediately starts in about abortion; it seems as if he’s pro-life to the shock of Chris, (Avery Clyde) the newcomer to the group. She lets it be known that as a man, Stuart has absolutely no right to voice his opinion about the subject. This is turn pisses off Chris’s gay friend Elliot (Ray Paolantonio) who chimes in that if a man can’t voice an opinion about abortion then a woman has not right to speak on the subject of men marrying men.

From there, Lauren (Cherish Monique Duke), Stuart’s girlfriend and a woman of color, expresses her resentment of her black friend Nicholas (Blake Young Fountain) who thinks she’s being taken for granted by Stuart.

Sounds confusing..? Well it isn’t until it is in the second act, which takes place a year later. Here’s where things get a little muddled. Stuart has a new girlfriend, Sophie (Jacqueline Misaye) who’s Japanese and Caucasian. Elliot is now with Leif (Nick Marcone) an extremely proud bi-sexual. Of course they too have strong opinions on a myriad of subjects.

It takes a while to figure out what’s going on, but in the end playwright Michael Perlman makes some interesting points in regards to who really has a right to comment on any given subject — or whether it even matters. Director Judith Moreland does a good job with her actors each of whom elicits laughs and offers emotionally moving moments.

photos by Brian M. Cole

At the Table
The Road Theatre Company
Lankershim Arts Center
5108 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood
Fri and Sat at 8; Sun at 2
ends on July 7, 2019 EXTENDED to August 3, 2019
for tickets, call 818.761.8838 or visit Road Theatre

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