ComedyDramaNew YorkReview

Reprise – Paradise Factory Theater, New York

Writer: Eric Maierson

Director: Eric Maierson

Reviewer: Jamie Rosler

If you’re relatively up to date with the current state of Progressivism in the United States, then you may have heard of Nice Guy Syndrome. It usually goes hand in hand with the Friend Zone, in which someone, generally a cisgender heterosexual male, equates “being a nice guy and a good friend” with some kind of point system in which the prize is sex, primarily with a female so-called friend. Writer/director Eric Maierson’s new play, Reprise, comes across as the artistic product of a man who has recently learned about Nice Guy Syndrome and wants to educate everyone about it, but is still too entrenched in it himself to provide an accurate or appropriate representation of the moral he aims to impart.

Michael, played by the either miscast or misdirected Ken Forman, is a man around 40-years-old, living a ho-hum life in the suburbs and still pining after his high school crush, Erin (Tara Westwood). Erin is married, and though she seems cognizant of the torch that Michael carries for her, she and he have retained a friendship for over twenty years.

Leonard, played with gusto by Sean Patrick Folster, is Michael’s friend or neighbor. He’s a Russian immigrant and a misogynist, intended to be the foil to Michael’s Nice Guy. Yet, even with his outdated ideals and his misguided world view, he is the most likeable of these three completely unsympathetic characters. He may be horrible, but he’s honest about who he is and what he thinks. Michael and Erin, both individually and in their relationship with each other, are fueled by deception. They use each other in often-failed efforts to make personal gains that exist wholly outside the realm of a healthy friendship. 

Reprise may have the ultimate goal of bringing light to Nice Guy Syndrome in an effort to eventually get rid of it entirely, but the script and its characters could not be further from enlightened, or in any position to teach the world how to be better people. Maierson needs to spend more digesting his progressive education before attempting to turn around and educate his audience; Michael’s apartment isn’t the only thing stuck in the 1980s.

Runs until 11 June 2017

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