It’s a perennial question facing many a couple on relationships and geography (including my own past marriage!): New York or Los Angeles…or perhaps somewhere in between?
This profound dilemma is explored by playwright extraordinaire Sam Bobrick, in “New York Water,” now in its run at the Pico Playhouse. Directed by Howard Teichman, this play begins with an opening scene, a blind date, as it were, where Linda (Bridget Flanery) and Albert (Ross Benjamin) grapple with their fears, doubts, and suspicions of strangers and the outside world, yet come to the conclusion, that “Ah, kindness. What a simple way to tell another struggling soul that there is love to be found in this world.” As a cousin of mine once so poignantly stated, “New York is special. A city of extremes. A city where anything is possible. It can be overwhelming. It can be unbelievable. Where you are somebody and nobody. Will this love affair ever end?” This sentiment captures the essence of “New York Water” impeccably. This play is truly a witty, humorous ‘love letter’ to New York, essentially the third character in the show. The two main characters, Linda and Albert, begin and end their entangled life journey in New York, progressing from roommates to lovers to spouses and eventually just friends/acquaintances. The rivalry between the two cities, NYC and LA, seems ageless, having been explored in theatre, film, and music a la Neil Simon, Woody Allen, and Neil Diamond. Just as Annie Hall was a love story for two people who didn’t believe in love, so too, in this show, the two leads come together, pull apart, re-connect, break up, and so the pattern goes. Bobrick is seamless in bringing to life onstage the trials and tribulations that this couple endures, ultimately finding themselves in Los Angeles, both literally and figuratively. While Linda is attracted and lured into the superficiality of the showbiz industry, Albert finds himself distanced and desperate to earn an honest living. The audience develops an empathy for Albert’s plight, sure to resonate with many a hopeful in this city of angels. New York Water is filled with extra twists and turns around every bend, a love affair gone awry, and many an irony, very characteristic of Sam Bobrick’s previous works. Deep revelations and gutsy insights are gleaned from the play’s rich, flowing dialogue and incredibly true to life scenarios. This offbeat comedy is smart, funny, and contemporary in one. The two actors carry the show effortlessly with their comedic timing and natural rapport, in both good and troubled times. The period songs, and artwork in between scenes, about New York, Midwest, and California life, further accentuate the play’s theme, versatility and many layers. The play offers a laugh a minute, though also brings serious insights on relationships, shared values, and the quality of life… and New York water!
through December 17 Pico Playhouse 10508 W. Pico Blvd. Fridays & Saturdays 8PM ;Sundays 3PM (323) 821-2449 www.wcjt.tix.com