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The Other Day

Two men meet at a Narcotic Anonymous meeting and consider becoming involved, featuring TV stars David Dean Bottrell and Sandro Isaack.

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David Dean Bottrell and Sandro Isaak in a scene from Mark Jason Williams’ “The Other Day” (Photo credit: Andrew Block)

David Kaufman

David Kaufman, Critic

A play that tends to say or do too much can often end up saying too little. Such is the case with The Other Day, a play in which one development after another keeps cancelling each other out. In the opening scene, which also marks the beginning of their relationship, Mark and Santo don’t exactly meet cute, but they do get right to their problems relating to life–and to each other. They are, after all, at a “Narcotics Anonymous Meeting, divulging their addictions and their problems.

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.

Sandro Isaack, Elizatbeth Inghram and David Dean Bottrell in a scene from Mark Jason Williams’ “The Other Day” (Photo credit: Andrew Block)

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

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David Kaufman
About David Kaufman (89 Articles)
David Kaufman has been covering the theater in New York since 1981. A former theater critic for the New York Daily News, he was also a long-time contributor to the Nation, Vanity Fair, the Village Voice and the New York Times. He is also the author of the award-winning Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam, the best-selling Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door, and his most recent biography, Some Enchanted Evenings: The Glittering Life and Times of Mary Martin.

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