TERRIFIC, TIMELY, EXCEPTIONAL
"I had the pleasure of seeing a staged reading of David L. Epstein's newest play Top Floor at the Indie Theatre Now @ Stage Left Series. It was directed by David and featured an expert cast that included Kaitlyn Mikayla, Thomas Kelsey, Jeff Coyne, Alex Carmine, Chuck Obasi, Staci Jacobs, and Aaron Veasely. Top Floor is a terrific, timely play built around a web of relationships and deceits. Gary is the very wealthy owner of a chain of coffee shops (among other profitable ventures); he lives on the top floor of a condo that has been reclaimed from the tenements around it in a gentrifying section of New York's Lower East Side. Gary is having an affair with one of the employees at the coffee shop, an architectural design student named Eliza. Eliza's boyfriend, Martin, is a fervent member of the "Occupy" movement and a budding photographer (he's a recovering capitalist, having lost a bundle in the 2008 recession). Martin submits a proposal for a show--featuring photos of the building where Gary lives--to Gary's wife, Susan, who is curator at an art gallery. Meanwhile, Wayne--an Iraq War vet who raises homing pigeons--watches over the proceedings from his perch, the roof of the building next door to Gary and Susan's. Epstein throws all of these plot points into the air in Top Floor and manages them with the skill of any Flying Karamazov Brother; the suspense builds as we guess and then second-guess everyone's true motivation in this gripping drama. I love it for its craft and even more for its wisdom and social consciousness: this is a play not just about people pursuing deep-seated aims but also about the times we live in right now, times that drive us to certain kinds of behaviors while pushing us to pursue (and even rewarding) others. Read the excerpt David has chosen to represent the play for a sense of the thinking he's done in creating this exceptional work. I am wishing for a long productive life for Top Floor, and hope a lot of folks will check it out!
Top Floor has monologues published in The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2014, The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2014, and scenes in, The Best Ten Minute Plays 2006, which was reviewed in Backstage Magazine. The original material has been produced across the country, most notably at Venice Playhouse, CA.