Curtain Call: ‘Fully Committed’ actor’s mobile take on the one-man show leaves viewers exhausted
What a unique experience Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC) has provided for theater hungry audiences. Limited to only 23 patrons in the small black box theater in Norwalk, MTC gave people the option of attending Becky Mode’s “Fully Committed” in the theater or watching it livestreamed. I couldn’t help but realize how people who could not attend theater before because of physical challenges and limitations could now see real live theater comfortably at home. No longer would cancellations be made because of bad weather. Snow and ice will not stop theater lovers from seeing their favorite actors in stage performances. Now there is a choice. I hope it lasts, but you definitely want to take advantage of this while it is available.
What works so well is that you see everything when it’s livestreamed, which I enjoyed experiencing. The sight lines couldn’t be better and you have the most comfortable seat in the house. Before the show starts, you see people heading to their seats and you hear them chatting with one another. Center stage for this production is enveloped in a blue light focused on a table, chair and telephone. Background music is heard. This is an Equity professional theater and as soon as the lights come up there is no doubt about it.
The vividly colorful set and props designed by Jessie Lizotte come to life. They include everything you might find in the basement of a restaurant and then some. There are many Christmas props, so you know this is a season for busy times in the restaurant business. R.J. Romeo’s lighting is most effective and Diane Vanderkroef’s costumes are realistically contemporary.
While visually everything was spot on, the sound was not the best. Whether that was due to my own computer or Will Atkin’s design, I cannot be certain. I did play around with treble and bass, but I couldn’t get the clarity I would have had in the theater.
Actor Matt Densky takes on this one-man show with enthusiasm. He plays Sam, an out of work actor taking reservations for the best restaurant in Manhattan. He also plays all the other roles of patrons calling for reservations. Directed by Kevin Connors, the patrons range from impatient to rude, and offer everything from threats to bribes to get their reservation and/or favorite table.
Having seen this play several times at other theaters, it was interesting to watch Densky run all over the place unlike others who focused more on voices and were not as mobile. The less is more rule might have served him better because it became confusing as he not only took on the voices of the callers, but some of their physical quirks.
What works so well for the play is that it reveals Sam’s life as reservation taker, as son to a recently needy widower father and as an actor who suddenly has a shot at a role at Lincoln Center. His father wants him home for Christmas, but Sam’s life is so full of conflict that we get to see a thoroughly developed character with so much going on in his life.
Densky certainly nailed the chef who calls on the red hot line phone. These are his funniest moments. The laughter heard from the live audience is weaker than one would expect. In the end, it looks like Densky has run around so much that we feel tired for him.
This production plays weekends: Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m, and Sunday at 2 p.m through Sept. 27 at MTC. This is a great opportunity to see the theater production either in the theater itself or livestreamed. For in-person tickets, call the box office at: 203- 454-3883. For virtual tickets, visit musictheatreofct.com/fullycommitted.
Joanne Greco Rochman is a founding member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: email@example.com.