Eggs and the Rebound Guy
nytheatre.com review by Nathaniel Kressen
August 10, 2008
There was recently a feature article in Back Stage discussing the benefits of actors writing their own vehicles. One of the key benefits, as in Eggs and the Rebound Guy, is that the actor-writer is allowed to delve into a subject matter that not only interests them, but also showcases their strengths as a performer.
LyaNisha R. Gonzales is the writer and lead actress of Eggs and the Rebound Guy, as well as founder of the producing company Two Little People Productions. She is showcased in this year's FringeNYC Festival as a charming, magnetic performer who guides the audience through her story with utmost clarity. The script itself, however, leaves something to be desired.
Eggs and the Rebound Guy tells the story of Dru, who, upon reaching the age of 30, feels the ticking of her biological clock and decides to have a baby through artificial insemination. Her family and friends object as only family and friends can, with simultaneously heartfelt and abrupt dismissals of her intentions. Her quest is momentarily derailed by a potential Prince Charming as well as unforeseen medical complications, which supply most of the conflict in this piece.
Gonzales waits until the second act to create a world for her story. It is only then that we learn anything about the other characters beyond how they respond to the play's singular focus: Dru's desire to have a baby. An enjoyable moment comes when Dru and her mother discuss her brother's new white girlfriend. While her mother insists that she has no problem with the interracial relationship, Dru comments slyly that her mother should prepare "to be thrown into a Sidney Poitier movie." There are several such moments in the script when Dru targets black culture and race relationships through humor, and these prove to be some of the liveliest moments in the play.
Despite their characters being underwritten, the ensemble cast provides solid performances throughout. For instance, director Lisa-Erika James makes a clever choice by casting women in male roles for a scene in which they lewdly discuss their recent sexual exploits. The actresses perform these roles with vigor, and turn dialogue that might be seen as being in bad taste into an excuse for the audience to laugh along with actors and invest in the story.
Gonzales has a clear interest in the subject matter of Eggs and the Rebound Guy, and as a performer she has the chops to earn the interest of her audience. In future projects, I would encourage her to work closely with her director and actors in paring down the unnecessary segments in her script. There are too many tangents introduced in passing, and too few of them are followed through to completion.