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Eat the Runt

Presented by Matthew von Waaden, Weil Richmond, and Matthew Richmond at The American Place Theatre, 111 W. 46 St., NYC. Opened June 5 for an open run.

Kelli K. Barnett, LaKeith Hoskin, Thom Rivera, Curtis Mark Williams, Linda Cameron, Weil Richmond, Keesha Sharp, and Jama Williamson are eight actors in an unlikely situation—they've been cast in an Off-Broadway production, but they still have to audition for the play every night. That's because the show they're in, Avery Crozier's "Eat the Runt," lets audience members electronically vote on who plays what role at each performance, resulting in any number of combinations.

Crozier's "play without pronouns" allows any actor, regardless of age, race, or gender, to play any part. It's an interesting convention—unfortunately, more interesting than the content. The comedy is a loony look at the interviewing process for a major organization—in this case, an art museum. The applicant meets with a series of eclectic individuals, who each have a say in the interviewee's chances of getting the job. The encounters are quirky, but are either too outrageous or too stereotypical to register much response. Several plot twists temporarily liven the proceedings, but, on the whole, the exercise is almost as tedious as actual job interviews.

Matthew von Waaden and his cast have done an impressive job of rehearsing the play so that each performer feels comfortable playing each role—perhaps if they were permitted to stick with one casting choice, everyone could get below the surface of the characters. The actors really aren't given an opportunity to do more than a broad characterization, but are appealing and inventive nonetheless. On the technical side, Timothy Cramer's original music and sound design effectively fill the theatre with business-related noise, while Jerome Martin's set and Michele Disco's lighting are appropriately corporate.

Despite the unusual casting concept, "Eat the Runt" is ultimately just another day at the office.

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