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    Room with a few

    Two roommates and one boyfriend are a crowd in the exhilarating slice of grad-school life "Scab."


    It wouldn't be quite right to call "Scab" a joyful play, but it is a joy to watch. Rarely does a play give such an impression that the characters were alive long before I began watching them and continued with their lives after I went home. It didn't even feel as if the characters had climbed up on a stage to act out a story for us. Instead, it was as if I'd been given a chance to watch one exceptional stretch of time in their lives. Word must be getting out, as the theatre was packed and it was said that people were being turned away at the door.

    Written by: Sheila Callaghan.
    Directed by: Hayley Finn.
    Cast: Shannon Burkett, David Wheir, Sasha Eden, Anne Carney.
    Greenwich Street Theater
    547 Greenwich Street
    Feb. 23 - March 16, 2002

    The story is of a love triangle between two women and a man in graduate school in Los Angeles. Christa has just arrived in the big city from a state university, dressing and acting like a Dorothy who has come to Oz in search of a degree. She appears cheerful, innocent, and much intimidated by her classmates, who are hilarious caricatures of grad students with the inevitable cigarettes, black turtlenecks, and pseudointellectual jabbering. Her roommate Ani is a Jersey girl who's already been at the school for a turbulent year. She acts jaded, but has heavy baggage from her past and a knack for falling hopelessly in love with the wrong people. Both women cross paths with the womanizer Alan, another student at the university.

    The question hanging over this play is the uncertainty of how the two women, together so much in their apartment, will relate to each other as they struggle through their lives. Sometimes they seem to be close friends and to hate each other at the same time. There's no way to be sure how things will change next — these characters are as complicated as anyone to be found in real life. While things reach a kind of resolution at the end, the play makes no attempt to tie up every loose string.

    Everything about "Scab" is well done. The plot is unusual without being implausible, the dialogue is intelligent while still sounding natural, and the actors make every emotion and movement genuine. David Wheir, in the part of Alan, acts much closer to 22 years old than the 32 he is supposed to be. Ignoring that, though, his acting was eerily believable, so there's nothing to detract from the play. I would watch this play again without hesitation.

    MARCH 6, 2002

    Reader comments on Scab:

  • Scab   from Jason, Mar 7, 2002
  • West coasting Scab   from Nitai, Nov 25, 2004

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