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Blue Surge

Commendable acting, directing, and design add up to a provocative statement on life's crossroads and the chance encounters that arrive along the way.

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Joshua Schwartz and Elisabeth Ng in a scene from Rebecca Gilman's "Blue Surge" (Miah Gonzales)

Joshua Schwartz and Elisabeth Ng in a scene from Rebecca Gilman’s “Blue Surge” (Miah Gonzales)

[avatar user=”Ryan Mikita” size=”96″ align=”left” ] Ryan Mikita, Critic[/avatar]For Brooklyn Repertory Theatre’s latest production, critically acclaimed playwright Rebecca Gilman’s Blue Surge was chosen. Published in 2001, Blue Surge is a stark look at the lives of two undercover police officers who lead very different lifestyles, but similarly have a fair share of conflicts on their hands. Following a botched undercover job, Curt (Joshua Bennet Schwartz) and Doug (Matteo De Cola) are at the center of this story which closely examines morality and the idea of an “ethical code.”

Joshua Bennet Schwartz’s Curt is at the center of this production, an anxious and helplessly well-intentioned officer hoping for a promotion. Though seemingly with his peer’s best interests in mind, Curt is too impulsive for his own good and his emotional tendencies cloud his judgment detrimentally. Schwartz provides a wide-ranging and varied performance. Curt’s fiancé Beth (Cleo Handler) is of a different breed than her other half, and Handler’s stern and A-type personality help to shed light on Curt’s many flaws.

Curt’s colleague Doug is portrayed by Matteo De Cola, and the two actors stand in vast contrast. While Schwartz is meek and emotionally volatile, De Cola delivers Doug as a laid-back and sloppy counterpart. Appearing under-slept and seemingly reckless, De Cola is an unconventional but befitting partner-in-crime.

Cleo Handler and Joshua Schwartz in a scene from  Rebecca Gilman's "Blue Surge" (Photo credit: Miah Gonzales)

Cleo Handler and Joshua Schwartz in a scene from  Rebecca Gilman’s “Blue Surge” (Photo credit: Miah Gonzales)

In two roles best defined as romantic interests, Elisabeth Ng as Sandy and Shii Ann Huang as Heather enter Curt and Doug’s lives, respectively, through fairly unusual circumstances. Sandy is a complex character, but possibly due to the script, the character’s intentions are often unclear and confusing. As Heather, Ann Huang is the polar opposite of Sandy in every way, but the bond of friendship between the two is well-developed and compliments the production nicely.

Directed by Joseph Hayward, Blue Surge is specific and engaging, and moves at a brisk pace which deceives the nearly-two-hour run time. The lighting design (Jason Fok) is particularly impressive for such a small and aged theater space, and much of the intrigue derives from the varying lighting techniques and bold color scheme employed. Given the limited budget and resources with which Brooklyn Repertory Theatre’s latest production was mounted, commendable acting, direction, and design serve as a reminder that the actual theater space becomes irrelevant when in the midst of a talented cast and crew.

Blue Surge (September 14 – 16, 2015)

Brooklyn Repertory Theatre

Kraine Theater, 85 East 4th Street, in Manhattan

For tickets,

Running time: One hour and forty five minutes, one intermission

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