Lyric Is Waiting
Michael Puzzo's attempt to create an unusual romantic drama ends up being cloying and unsatisfying.
The work begins at the end of the relationship between Ned (Brit Whittle) and Lyric (Lori Prince). They may have once met cute but their marriage has turned into a grueling existence for them both. She's haunted by delusions that often leave her hysterical and incapacitated in the house. Ned attempts to understand her and placate her. He goes to the library to check out books on her obsession -- Bigfoot --- and while he's there, the Librarian (Kelly McAndrew) becomes not only his guide to the place, but also to his life with Lyric.
The show deliberately blurs the timeline of events that it presents. It's clear enough that Ned and Lyric's happy moments occurred in the past. More difficult to piece into the story's chronology are Lyric's encounters at home with a tall dark stranger (Joe Masi) whom she hopes will prove different from all of the other men in her life. That Lyric chooses to call this guy "Popo" -- although he wants to be called "Kevin" -- is a pretty clear indication of the sort of man Lyric's looking for, even before Lyric reveals her idealized view of her father.
Unfortunately, director Adam Fitzgerald's staging does little to illuminate the less distinct aspects of Puzzo's script, even if he does bring the episodic play to life with a certain flair. (Credit for this also belongs to Joel Sherry's fanciful forest-like scenic design and Christopher J. Bailey's atmospheric lighting design.) Fitzgerald has also elicited dramatically uneven performances from his cast. Most successful is McAndrew, whose turn as the pertly knowing Librarian always manages to evoke a laugh, or at least a smile. This character may be a figment of Ned's imagination, but McAndrew's performance has a wonderfully quixotic quality to it that makes the Librarian seem both real and ethereal.