The sole male character, Simon (Patrick Hamilton, skillfully balancing lust and conscience) is a surgeon who specializes in heart transplants. He cheats on his wife Anna with Jennifer. It sounds simple, but it isn’t.
Barry lets each character speak directly to the audience, beginning with Simon’s opening monologue in which he describes the social demands placed on a famous surgeon. His wife (played by Ruth Sullivan as a lost child, despite the intensely profane language she is given by the playwright) works in a government office—this all takes place in England—which has as one of its duties the purchasing of mega-weapons.
At a social event after an opera, he meets sensualist Jennifer (Allison Threadgold, voluptuous and sharp) whose first lines describe picking up a young man for “working class sex.” At her first encounter with Simon, their eyes locked and thus began a potent affair, the surgeon with the financial analyst with the unsuspecting, but emotionally uneasy wife left hanging.
Anna soon has more to worry about than Simon’s infidelity. A crisis at work takes her mind in a different direction just as Jennifer gets bolder, buying Simon gifts. Anna has own version of infidelity. She fantasizes a fabulous sex life with a Matthew from her past.
The monologues come quicker and quicker with each character going off on different tangents, their minds flying in all sorts of directions until a denouement that just suggest a violent end to the triangle.
The situation is reminiscent of Pinter’s Betrayal with a touch of the monologue rich plays of Conor McPherson and Brian Friel’s The Faith Healer tossed into the mix.
The main problem with this production directed by Tana Sirois is a bothersome disconnect between the sophisticated, world-weary dialogue and the obvious youth of the three actors. They all seem at least ten years too young for their roles, let alone to be convincing members of the upper crust. Ms. Sirois can’t make these youthful, but skilled and bold actors come across as anything but what they are, although some skillfully designed hairdos, a touch of grey in Mr. Hamilton’s hair and costumes that were less youthful might have helped. (Beth Morgan’s costumes were rich, but not appropriate.)
Chika Shimizu’s simple, but flexible, black set worked well as did David Schocket’s moody lighting. Jonathan Sanford provided fine, moody music.
Tomorrow in the Battle (through October 28, 2017)
An Ars Nova Fling
Theater 511, 511 West 54th Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 212-489-9800 or visit http://www.strippedscripts.com
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission