Comedy by Kate Fodor
Bloomington Playwrights Project
September 28, 29 & October 4-6, 11-13, 2012 @ 7:30
Hey, it is indeed an age of drug use and missuse from the downers like the “mothers’ little helper” that Mick Jagger sang about and the current rage for Ritalin for kids to uppers like cocaine and “Five Hour Energy.” The comedian George Carlin used to do an entire routine based on the query,”Can’t you take something for that?”
If you’ve ever had a wry thought about the whole drug situation, then Kate Fodor’s Rx at the Bloomington Playwrights Project is the play for you. Hana Slevin plays Meena Pierotti, a disappointed poet who’s currently slaving in the world of business journalism as the managing editor of Piggeries. It’s an American journal about factory farming of cattle and swine. In unhappy desperation Meena signs up for a trial of an experimental drug that’s designed to combat work place depression. The company labels the pill, “SP 9-5” and has plans to have Dolly Parton pitching in the promotion.
The medical examiner for the study, Phil Gray, played by Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Director, Paul Daily also has a sad tale of disappointed humanitarian goals. Right from their first hesitant moments in the examining room he’s smitten and love blossoms. Meena’s frustrations with her job and her thoughts of escape reawaken Phil’s own desire to take a second chance at broader goals.
Then disaster strikes. It appears that the SP-9-5 is actually working. Meena begins to actually enjoy the routine of her job. Phil and their dreams together are swept aside. Inspired by a minor coup at work Meena has an office desk top fling with Simon, a co-worker played by Jeffrey Allen. And Phil has a near death experience with a drug designed to combat heart-break. It’s administered by an Einstein quote spouting colleague played by Daniel J. Petrie.
While all this is going on, from time to time Meena has been escaping from her office to the “old ladies underwear,” section of a nearby store to do a little private crying. It’s here that she meets Frances, played by Kate Braun. Frances is a neat slightly addled, very human woman and the scenes with her help expand and anchor Meena.
I think, I’ll leave the plot of Rx here. You get the idea and it is a comedy.
Hana Slevin is the perfect appealingly sad victim. Paul Daily is a marvelously skilled actor who brings a full range of emotion to his part. His boss at Ivy Tech, Chancellor John Whikehart, does a nice turn as his boss at the drug company. Erin Parks was effective as the mostly the motor mouthed management shark of the company, but she even managed a bit of a country girl skirt flourish in a dance with Whikehart. Jeffrey Allen was just sympathetic and just crude enough as Meena’s coworker, Simon. Daniel J. Petrie was hilariously funny as the heart-break drug colleague. Kate Braun was delightful as the addled but wise Frances.
Sets at the BPP continue to work as hard as the actors. David Wade’s current effort with the skyline of Indianapolis as the backdrop is a multi-purpose effort that features two levels, a mini-rotating stage, a pull out bed and a small side office.
Efficient direction…always a key especially in a play that relies on multiple short scenes is by Mark Kamie.