Green Globe Theatre’s presentation of “All New People” by Zach Braff attempts to bring a balanced dark comedy to life. The play concerns 35-year-old Charlie, whose attempt to kill himself on his birthday, but is thwarted when three unknown visitors show up. It’s a macabre exploration of life after tragedy.
This production unfortunately failed to deliver in many regards. Riddled with technical difficulties, actors missing lines, and a general disorganization to the whole production, there were only a few moments where the production succeeded at telling the story.
One of the moments where the play shined (and that needs to be lauded) is in the handling of some difficult topics. The plot navigates suicide, drug use, rape, as well as other potentially triggering subject matter, and director Jen Sizer manages to present it in a way that is still provocative without ever feeling self-indulgent or irresponsible.
While the handling of the subject matter was quite nice, Sizer’s handling of the text and direction of the characters was unfortunately a bit of a swing and a miss. Across the board every actor had an idea of the character they were playing, but not one of the four managed to ever fully realize their characters.
The actor who came closest was Lianna Von Haubritz as Kim, a sex worker who was sent by Charlie’s friend as a birthday gift. Delivering a Marilyn Monroe-esque voice and quiet yet self-assured attitude, Haubritz at least kept us engaged the entire time. Even so, her performance lacked some of the emotional heft her character seemed to be given in the text. The voice and ditzy act were very well executed and funny, but there were multiple missed opportunities where that could have dropped and revealed a three dimensional portrayal.
Adam Garrison as Myron brought an exuberance and charm to his role of high school teacher turned drug dealer, but unfortunately not much else. Much like Haubritz, Garrison failed to ever to push past the exterior of the character and see any layers. Carolyn Koch as Emma suffered from the same exact issue as well as talking so fast it was near impossible to make out the majority of what she said. This was especially detrimental to the production since it impeded her jokes from landing.
Rounding out the group was Nate Krimmel playing Charlie, the disgraced air traffic controller whose negligence led to the accidental death of six people. So distraught by this he “sentences himself to death.” Krimmel effectively played the straight man and his performance would have been more successful with a stronger group of actors around him. But since 90% of his material is based on what he’s given to play off of, he was left a bit out in the cold and never really succeeded at finding much layering to the character.
The production showed some promise, but overall there was too much left undiscovered in the characters and plot for it to truly triumph. (I)
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO: It is a short 90 minute experience, but ultimately I would recommend against this production. Green Globe theatre has a wonderful mission and deserves our support, but All New People seems to be a bit of a misstep for this otherwise commendable company.