Little Piece of You
nytheatre.com review by Josephine Cashman
August 10, 2013
Little Piece of You begins with a ten-minute video showing Jessica and Sam. It’s the kind of cozy and sweet exchange that happens at the beginning of relationship, but it is disappointing to see it on video, when it could easily have been performed on the stage to greater success. In fact, this use of video seems to weaken the powerful bond between Jessica and Sam. The videos lack the intimacy and chemistry that exists when the two actors stand on stage and simply look at each other.
Written by Mariah Freda and directed by Alexandra Kuechler-Caffall, the story itself is simple; childhood friends start dating, causing consternation amongst the other two best friends in their neighborhood crowd. They are a solid, cohesive group, and remain so, even as they grow up and away. Jessica is leaving their town for a big city and career. Abrasive Adam chooses to stay in the small town where he happily hooks up with Jersey Shore-style Sharon (a comical Daliya Karnofsky). He still hangs with his best bud Taylor (played appealingly by Simon Winheld), and is happy with his uncomplicated life. Taylor has the talent of telling the truth at comical and inconvenient times and his friendship with Adam is a subtle highlight of the show. Rounding out the group is the love of Jessica’s life, Sam, who leaves town to join the Marines. Time passes, relationships change, and not the way everyone one wants, or even needs. No matter how they feel, they continue to meet on the Fourth of July holiday for drinking and the warmth of old, comfortable friendship.
Then enters Heather, played by Michelle Marie Trester. She is the new addition to their band, and not a welcome one. Heather is sincere, enthusiastic, and has genuine interest and fondness for the strangers/now friends that surround her. It is more than a little confusing to the group, and they erroneously respond to her with puzzled cynicism and suspicion. “I will hate her if you want me to,” the ever-loyal Taylor earnestly tells Jessica.
Unfortunately, the last half of the play starts to feel somewhat repetitive and argumentative. It seems implausible that Jessica seems to have no close girlfriends at all, or that Sam doesn’t tell Heather the truth about his relationship with Jessica. Despite the problems with the script, the acting is wonderful. Patrick Williams as the acerbic Adam and Michelle Marie Trester’s Heather are charming standouts. Towards the conclusion, Adam has a powerful and frank tirade about love: sometimes love’s leftovers are enough, very wise words coming from the wiseacre of the group. But even with strong acting, Little Piece of You is the kind of theatrical snack that is just shy of a satisfying meal.