Though we learn a number of details about their respective lives, both as written by Mark Jason Williams and performed by David Dean Bottrell (Mark) and Sandro Isaack (Santo), they are also empty vessels that never become real characters.
As Mark, who seems more mature, explains, he started taking Oxycontin “to mask the pain of losing my mother.” And while they’re clearly drawn to one another, they soon go to Santo’s place in Queens and have sex, which is a big no-no in any rehab situation. But Mark immediately wants to go home to New Jersey, afterwards, and doesn’t want anything more to do with it.
But of course, they do evolve a relationship that becomes on-again, off-again, after Santo sleeps with someone else and starts taking drugs again.
We next meet Dina (Elizabeth Inghram), who is apparently something of a half-sister to Mark: As Mark says to Dina, “Not your fault [that Dad] left my mother for yours.” And if Mark and Santo are “users,” Dina is a serious alcoholic, who even carries a flask with her, wherever she goes. She’s also wealthy, thanks to her offstage husband to whom she’s unhappily married.
It’s not revealing too much to add that Santo dies–especially because there’s yet another character, Steven (John Gazzale), who Mark and Dina meet at the airport in Amsterdam, when Mark loses his luggage. As with many of the scenic effects, the airport and then Amsterdam nightlife are achieved via large, colorful projections. (The scenic and projection design are by Scott Fetterman.) And as directed by Andrew Block, it all transpires at a rapid pace.
Ingraham is most effective as the sarcastic and witty Dina, especially during her long monologue near the end of the play. Gazzale also stands out as Steven, who has some funny moments with his broken English. But no one seems able to explain the meaning of the play’s rather mundane title.
The Other Day (through September 23, 2018)
Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street, in Manhattan
For tickets https://www14streety.org/nowplaying/season/
Running time: 100 minutes, without an intermission