Screenplay, now playing at the 59E59 Theater, makes cleaver use of the screenplay genre while still giving a truly satisfying stage experience. Screenplay is story of two competitive friends that interact in a way that guys do, with a mixture of admiration, anger, jealousy and friendship.
The two men in question are Dean and Graham – college friends and friendly rivals. Dean is that handsome, lucky partier everyone knows from college, and Graham is the plainer, smarter and more driven friend. Both want to write for the movies, but only Graham gets into USC Film School. And so, after graduation they drift apart. Jonathan Sale is the slightly smug Dean, and Scott Brooks (the playwright) plays Graham. Heather Dilly plays Suzie, the girl they both liked in college, but only Dean got to sleep with.
The play starts with a flashback to college and sets up the characters effortlessly. Graham and Suzie are fleshed out simply, but with nuance, by Mr. Brooks and Ms Dilly. It is obvious that they are supporting players in Dean’s life, held in orbit by Dean’s personality.
The play then pops forward a decade. Dean has become disillusioned and has a dull, boring job. His wife, played by Diana Delacruz with a breezy Californian vibe, finds a new screenplay in his drawer and reads it. She loves it and convinces him to try to get it produced.
As luck would have, Graham returns, flush with cash and ready to help. Graham has made a fortune from an internet start-up and wants to produce Dean’s screenplay. But there is a catch, Graham wants not just to buy the screenplay, but the writing credit as well. After hemming and hawing, Dean sells his work to be produced credited to Graham.
The action then quickly moves to the repercussions of this decision on all the characters. Most results are predictable, but are executed extremely well. Characterizations become deeper and relationships more complex. The result is a funny play, but one that is built on some very real emotions and interactions.
The sets are simple, but succeed perfectly in defining place without overwhelming the actors. Lex Liang does a great job with Production Design, effortlessly transforming scenes. Screenplay is directed well by Jenny Greeman. It starts slowly, but Ms. Greman builds excitement as the play progressed towards resolution.
It is a very witty and clever show.
Website and Tickets
Director: Jenny Greeman
Playwright: Scott Brooks
Cast: Scott Brooks, Heather Dilly, Diana Delacruz, Jonathan Sales