nytheatre.com review by David Gordon
July 26, 2008
The ability to find oneself is explored in Christopher Heath's new play, Truth Is. It begins with an everyday argument between Karen and Michael about whether or not to move the couch and why, after X number of years of marriage, there's still nothing that belongs to her in their home. When Karen leaves for a brief getaway with Ann, we learn that Michael is having a secret relationship with Tony. The characters must begin to confront their own truths in order to lead content lives.
The cast (Sarah Lilley, Nick DeSimone, L. Jay Meyer, Lindy Rogers, and David J. Cummins) is fairly strong. Lilley and DeSimone as married couple Karen and Michael are properly conflicted and, no matter what, still give off the impression that they care for one another. However, it is L. Jay Meyer as a disgruntled sandwich-board-wearing political activist who delivers the most compelling performance.
His character, Jimmy, is meant, it seems, to function almost as the voice of reason. Jimmy has run-ins with all of the characters but nary, it seems, does he impact their lives. There's also a problematic segment with him at the top of the second act preaching about saving the whales, while two scenes play around him. In a longer piece with more development, this idea could work very well.
In addition to acting, Lindy Rogers serves as the play's director. Her production is fluid enough and the play flies by, save for the scene changes, which are bogged down by the company's use of cumbersome rehearsal blocks to represent set pieces. The budget is small, yet it is playing at one of the larger stages used by the festival. While the play doesn't get lost, perhaps it would have a better impact in a smaller space.
Heath's script is filled with strong dialogue and great scene work for the actors but in short, the story is too predictable and gets sidetracked too often (whether it's about Jimmy saving the whales or another character struggling to stay broken up with the person she's fooling around with). Each act is 40 minutes long (there's a 10 minute intermission thrown in, as well), and the play gives the surface a solid skimming, but little more than that. Perhaps if Heath had longer than the 90-minute festival time limit to delve into the lives of his characters, the work would be more developed and less formulaic.
Heath tries to equate ideas in his work with topics well-known in the media—Jayson Blair's false reporting in the New York Times, Milli Vanilli's infamous lip-syncing, and the Larry Craig scandal among them. I just couldn't help thinking that if the play was more about these ideas and how, for example, being caught having relations in a bathroom stall would affect one's life, the play would have more to say.