Little Doc @ Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, New York

cast list
Adam Driver, Salvatore Inzerillo, Steve Marcus, Tobias Segal, Billy Tangradi, Dave Tawil, Joanne Tucker

directed by
John Gould Rubin
Little Doc is the first play by documentary filmmaker Dan Klores. It is an intense one-act piece that explores the dynamics between four friends in the mid-1970s in Brooklyn. Ric and Lenny are long-time frenemies who share history, drug sales and the affections of Lennys wife, Peggy. Young lovestruck Billy completes the foursome of friends and small-time drug dealers. These four share too little space in an apartment under the el and over a neighborhood bar.

The bar is manned by Rics father, Weasel, and owned by Manny. Manny is the top dog in this group of crooks and con, and it turns out Ric is into Manny for $50,000. To get information on what happened to the money and why Ric is acting jumpy, Manny Turns to Angelo. Angelo is an old acquaintance of Ric and his friends, recently release from jail. It is Angelos arrival and his agenda that forces the four friends to face the consequences of their criminal lifestyle. From the moment Angelo arrives upstairs at the apartment, the piece is set, inexorably, on a violent path toward its conclusion.
Joanne Tucker as Peggy and Tobias Segal as Billy are standouts in a very good cast. Both have been drawn into this group dynamic by an emotional and physical attraction to Ric, and both have been badly served by that same attraction. Their responses couldnt be more different. Ms. Tucker plays Peggy as forceful and strong. Mr. Segals Billy, by contrast, is mostly silent and withdrawn, falling deeper and deeper into a drug-induced stupor.

Steven Marcus is Weasel, and he is excellent as Rics father, a hoodlum overtaken by the twin demands of family and loyalty. But it is Adam Driver as Ric that shines the brightest in this cast, particularly in the last section of the show. He plans to get out of the situation at the expense of his friends and family. When his plan is discovered, his failure as a friend and son is overshadowed by his own fear and the desire to escape the consequences of his actions.

Director John Gould Rubin does a good job keeping the action on a long, slow boil, building tension and dread throughout the show without wearing an audience out. He is supported by scenic design (by David Rockwell) that keeps the action in the two locations tight and focused, switching seamlessly between the bar and apartment and giving the audience more information about the characters. This brings the audience into the piece by conveying additional layers of the characters’ desperation.

Little Doc slowly strips away the veneer of invulnerability from Ric, a charming young man, with the soul of a punk and bully. It forces Ric to confront the consequences from his life choices, something everyone must do at some point.

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