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Scrambled Eggs

A preachy, but well-intentioned message play that veers too close to melodrama.

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Reginald L. Wilson and Tatiana Scott in a scene from Reginald L. Wilson’s “Scrambled Eggs” at the Gene Frankel Theatre (Photo credit: Reginald L. Wilson)

[avatar user=”Joel Benjamin” size=”96″ align=”left”] Joel Benjamin, Critic[/avatar]

Sometimes good intentions do not have the best results—at least in theater.

Such is the case with Scrambled Eggs at the Gene Frankel Theatre.  Presented to bring immediacy to the issue of domestic violence, the play written by and starring Reginald L. Wilson, MFA, is a vivid domestic melodrama, an R-rated afternoon special, which hammers the audience over the head.  Perhaps, audiences need to be smacked to comprehend the direness of the subject matter and, perhaps, this is the means to that end.

Scrambled Eggs takes place in contemporary Florida where Terrence (Wilson), an intermittently employed construction worker who over-indulges in pot and alcohol, is married to Sable (Tatiana Scott), an out-of-work teacher and is the father of Lil T (Christopher Woodley), an elementary school-aged boy.

Tatiana Scott, Simone Black and K. Sidney in a scene from Reginald L. Wilson’s “Scrambled Eggs” at the Gene Frankel Theatre (Photo credit: Reginald L. Wilson)

Terrence is macho to the Nth degree, lording it over Sable, taking advantage of her in every way while also spying on her in his jealous belief she is cheating, particularly with his best friend and co-worker Shawn (Steven Strickland).  Terrence is also jealous of Sable’s best friend, Janice (Ria Alexander) who, despite a shady past, has pulled herself together and is now a social worker, providing a hated symbol of female independence.

Into this mix Sable’s mother Debra (Simone Black) and father Woody (K. Sidney) come to help Sable and Lil T, but are met with the same arrogance Terrence had shown Sable.

Christopher Woodley and Tatiana Scott in a scene from Reginald L. Wilson’s “Scrambled Eggs” at the Gene Frankel Theatre (Photo credit: Reginald L. Wilson)

Towards the end of Scrambled Eggs Terrence falls into a deep reverie about his childhood.  He was repeatedly raped by an uncle.  During this long memory Terrence almost becomes sympathetic, but, no, the moment his explicit tale ends, he is back to his abuser self and his repulsive behavior despite the rancor of those close to him.

There is no doubt that this in-your-face representation of domestic abuse is effective and, to its credit, Scrambled Eggs does induce horror in the audience, particularly when Terrence violently rapes Sable.  However, something is sacrificed to bring the point home:  subtlety.

Reginald L. Wilson, Steven Strickland, Simone Black and Ria Alexander  in a scene from Reginald L. Wilson’s “Scrambled Eggs” at the Gene Frankel Theatre (Photo credit: Reginald L. Wilson)

Fulton C. Hodges has directed with a heavy hand.  This is not to say that there aren’t flashes of fine acting here, particularly from Scott and Strickland who show sensitivity to their characters.  Little Woodley is also fine as the child in the center of this whirlpool of intense dysfunction.  Wilson, possibly with the thought to stress the point of his creation, overacts to mustache-twirling effect.  He plays the brute from the moment he appears, giving himself nowhere to go.  Perhaps it is just that the Gene Frankel Theatre is an intimate performance space and Wilson’s acting style is just too big.

The other cast members are at least sincere spouting Wilson’s lines.

Marlon Campbel’s set is comfortably domestic but lacking in any indication that the play is set in Tallahassee.  Lucky Pearto’s lights were particularly good during Terrence’s confession scene.  Ria Alexander’s costumes make each character stand out and are especially fine when the women are dressed up.

Steven Strickland and Ria Alexander in a scene from Reginald L. Wilson’s “Scrambled Eggs” at the Gene Frankel Theatre (Photo credit: Reginald L. Wilson)

Scrambled Eggs—the title refers to a rather weak metaphor—does serve a noble purpose but makes for uneasy theater.

Scrambled Eggs (through October 29, 2023)

Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 917-841-7567 or visit http://www.tinyurl.com/5h4t3waf

Running time: two hours and 15 minutes including one intermission

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About Joel Benjamin (561 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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