BEAUTIFUL, ENLIGHTENING, GENIUS

"Writer/director David Epstein’s engrossing new play, Drinking and Diving, showcases the warm and vibrant actors of the Invisible City Theatre Company (David Epstein, artistic director). Going beyond his last play, Strange Attractions, Epstein explores the mutable relations of parent, sibling, and child. He inspects their semblance, through issues of abandonment and success, sudden connections among strangers, and spaces of disconnection—a lonely bar and the edge of the Eiffel Tower. In the first act, a young woman (Maggie Bell) sits down at a table next to a middle aged man (Dan Patrick Brady). Sassy, inquisitive, ("I can’t harness my words before they leap") slightly hyper, and hurting inside, she draws out the man’s deepest sinful secret. Twenty years ago, he abandoned his wife and young daughter Daisy. Initially prickly and cynical, he eventually pours out his story with the weeping, nostalgic emotion of an alcoholic. The young woman has a converse sense of guilt. She was at work when her father died and didn't get to say goodbye ("His heart. Too much red meat. Not enough fish."). Together, they play at being Daisy and Dad. The young woman fulfills her longing, but the man never can. In the loosely connected second act, the woman’s younger brother, an almost gold medal winning Olympic diver (Matt Mundy), pouts and contemplates suicide because he "failed to rise to his own occasion." Daisy (Elizabeth Horn), now a psychological counselor, talks him down. She alternates between taunting him, "It’s those with the most promise that stand on the outside of the barricade," guilt tripping him (If he jumps, she’ll have no more career advancement) and finally she offers to join him, telling him more about her life than he reveals of his own.

Maggie Bell & Dan Patrick Brady in Drinking and Diving

Maggie Bell & Dan Patrick Brady in Drinking and Diving

A mere synopsis does not do justice to Epstein’s genius. Empty bars and suicide jumping spots are hardly innovative dramatic venues. Yet Epstein invigorates them on a virtually bare set (a small platform, a pole, and a cube are the Eiffel tower). Through both creating and directing, he brings forth well rounded characters, who speak in snappy but realistic ways, and who are the equals of one another. Patrick Dan Brady is believable from skepticism to tears. Matt Mundy is beautiful as the sulking spoiled young man who suddenly discovers reality. Maggie Bell is magnetic as the slightly zany woman trying on other lives. Elizabeth Horn is magnificent as the mothering savior with a chip on her shoulder. In Drinking and Diving, Epstein proves that under his direction, the players' performance can not only be entertaining and enrapturing, but also educational and enlightening."


D&D PUBLISHED MONOLOGUES

"Actresses looking for short pieces to work on in class or to use for auditions need look no further. This volume is loaded with choices from contemporary and classic plays, novels, and stories. Shakespeare and Chekhov are represented, along with contemporary writers such as Jane Martin, Christopher Durang, Caridad Svich, Beth Henley, and Wendy MacLeod. Many of the monologues in this book are from less well-known authors, making it the perfect choice for actresses looking for something auditioners have never seen before."

--From the Editor