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The Good Year

Assembling 12 men in a bare waiting room and hoping a play might ensue shares a probability with giving an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters and expecting one of them to eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare. The 12 men in writer/director Stefan Marks' play, each of whom has been called to audition to represent one month of the year in a mysterious calendar, have inarguably not been chosen for personality or studliness, let alone acting ability. This scripted play might have had more life had the actors improvised their dialogue based on the type for which they were cast. What transpires instead is an energy-depleted reality show about a bunch of social misfits who have nothing in common except their miserable lives.

In the mix is a hippie pool cleaner from the Summer of Love; a retired vacuum cleaner salesman and his estranged son who is a stone-faced lawyer; a dorky accountant with OCD; a scary ex–Navy SEAL; a pseudo-Beat poet; an African-American heart surgeon with no distinguishable heartbeat; an intelligence-impaired data clerk; a dour Australian pinball champ; a tough/tender cop who hasn't practiced what he preaches; an innocuous businessman; and a would-be standup comic with no sense of humor. The comic's only joke is the label he's assigned which, perhaps inadvertently, reads: Februarary [sic]. The first hour of the play consists of the desultory conversation of disparate strangers stuck in a room awaiting a series of instructions shoved under a door. Until the first man is admitted to the inner room, the direction consists of arbitrarily moving the men around so they can spill their guts to one another, or changing the seating arrangements. Despite the imminent need for audience neck braces occasioned by following the spot on a couple at stage far right or far left, there is little here that smacks of comedy or drama, unless it's the anti-climactic resolution.

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