Now Through October 8th
reviewed by Bobby Franklin
Significant Other by Joshua Harmon, who’s Bad Jews was a great hit last year, opens with Jordan Berman (Greg Maraio) celebrating the news of his friend Kiki’s (Sarah Elizabeth Bedard) engagement to be married. Kiki and Jordan are joined by two other long time friends Laura (Jordan Clark) and Vanessa (Kris Sidberry). They are sharing a scorpion bowl and Kiki is feeling no pain. Soon the conversation turns to Jordan, who is gay, and how it is time for him to find a significant other. We learn that Jordan tends to obsess over romantic interests and is now attracted to Will (Jared Troilo) from his office, who may or not be gay.
As the play progresses we watch as Jordan pursues Will both in real life and in fantasy. It is very interesting to see how this is staged, having Jordan speak to his friends while also in the moment with Will. It is almost as if the action pauses so he can update his friends. The effect works very well.
As time goes on we see that Jordan has not been able to make a connection with Will or any other man. Meanwhile, Vanessa and Laura join Kiki in walking down the bridal path. This leads Jordan to feeling a bit of a loser. He also begins to feel he is losing his friends and his sadness turns to anger when he confronts Laura at her bachelorette party. it was at this point Jordan started to get under my skin. Sorry, I just cannot feel sorry for someone that selfish.
At first I felt sadness for for Jordan, but my sadness turned to anger at him for his selfishness and inability to understand that life moves on and people have changes in their lives.It does not mean friendships end, but they do change, and he just cannot accept that.
Throughout the play he pays visits to his elderly grandmother Helene (Kathy St. George) and hears advice about life and aging, though nothing really seems to resonate with him.
As I was watching Significant Others I couldn’t help but think about Company which I had seen last week. Company had a similar theme about people moving on with their lives and dealing with how these changes effect friendships. What I found striking was, even though the characters in Company are only a few years older than those in Significant Others, they are much more mature than Jordan and his friends. Company was written in 1970, and I think by comparing the two we see how much longer it takes people to grow out of adolescence today. There were times during this play when I just wanted to shout out “Grow up, the world does not revolve around you!”
Okay, so this is not a group of people I would want to spend time with. Having said that, the production is well done, though I feel the play have been shorter. A number of points were made and did not have to be repeated.
It is very funny, and all of the players are quite good.
Greg Maraio has terrific talent which is why I disliked his character so much. Unless, of course, he was going for sympathy. If that was the case, I missed it. But i don’t think so. I believe Mr. Maraio captured the frustration and anger that too many young people feel when they realize life is a bumpy ride.
It’s funny, but the SpeakEasy Stage has a way of leaving me thinking about their productions for days after I have seen them. Leaving the theater I felt I really did not like this play. But, I think i could spend hours talking about it.
Directed by Paul Daigneault
SpeakEasy Stage Company
527 Tremont Street In The South End