Three on a Couch
Carl Djerassi's rather unsophisticated play about a frustrated novelist gets a stylish production.
The autobiographically themed work focuses on the consuming desire of a novelist (animated with TV announcer's tones by soap opera veteran Mark Pinter) to escape the professional box into which he has been painted. His plan is to fake suicide and publish a radically different sort of book under a nom de plume. As schemes go, it's not terribly sophisticated.
Neither is the play, but Djerassi and his director Elena Araoz lend the evening a surprisingly successful stylistic gloss. The novelist and his wife (the well modulated Lori Funk) act in high film noir fashion, chewing their dialogue and pausing for musical stings. Meanwhile, Brad Fraizer plays their therapist as a physical clown, pratfalls and all. The show's strongest moments are those when Fraizer is forced to dexterously negotiate the tight confines of his office, as when he rotates around a rather chintzy stool, seemingly unable to touch the floor during a session.