This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

17Nov/11

IT IS DONE

Alex Goldberg’s site-specific IT IS DONE offers thrills and chills at the Mean Fiddler pub (photo by Jen Maufrais Kelly)

The Mean Fiddler
266 West 47th St. between Broadway & Eighth Aves.
Mondays & Tuesdays through December 5, $30 (includes one drink), 7:30
www.itisdonetheplay.com
www.themeanfiddlernyc.com

What better place to stage a play that takes place in a bar than in an actual bar? Alex Goldberg’s site-specific It Is Done, which is set in a bar in the middle of nowhere, is an intimate, engaging comedy-thriller that is running Monday and Tuesday nights through December 5 downstairs at the Mean Fiddler pub on West 47th St. Patrons can order food and drink from the actual staff until five minutes before the 7:30 “curtain,” when Hank (Matt Kalman) takes over behind the bar. In the midst of a tornado, Jonas (Law & Order: Criminal Intent’s Ean Sheehy) enters, seeking solace not only from the torrential weather but from some deep, dark secret he clearly does not want to talk about. Hank, who is not used to customers — he tells Jonas he is the first person to come into the bar all week — wants to chat, but Jonas prefers to be left alone with his drink, leaving Hank to return to his pornographic pleasures. But when Ruby (the absolutely stunning Catia Ojeda) suddenly bursts in, the dynamic shifts and the psychological games begin. Ruby is a whirlwind of energy, brusque and confident, sexy and elegant, a take-charge woman who knows what she wants — and gets it. Determined to convince Jonas to share his story, one that is clearly tearing him apart, Ruby offers details of her own life while downing shots of whiskey and playing Hank Williams songs on the jukebox. As surprising truths emerge, the tale takes a delightfully surreal twist as it approaches its dark conclusion. Goldberg has created two compelling characters in Jonas and Ruby, with Hank serving as the over-the-top comic relief between them. Tom Wojtunik’s direction has the three-person cast make its way among the seated audience, as if the patrons are silent, unseen customers (which, in a way, they are). While Kalman and Sheehy play their parts well — Sheehy is particularly creepy and unnerving — the real star of the show is Ojeda, Goldberg’s wife, who turns in a memorable tour-de-force performance, echoing the tornado that is swirling outside. And Rod Serling fans are in for an extra treat, as there are several direct and indirect references to various Twilight Zone episodes. It Is Done is a fun, entertaining ninety minutes of theater that takes advantage of its site-specificity without feeling gimmicky — and as a bonus, each ticket comes with a free drink.

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