Too Little Too Late @ HERE Arts Center, New York

cast list
Daniel Abeles, Craig Jorczak, Jacob Murphy, Anna ODonoghue, Laura Ramadi, Claire Siebers

directed by
Portia Krieger and Moritz Von Stuelpnagel
Too Little Too Late is a theater piece made up of six one-act plays centered around the theme of communication and its failings, particularly (but not exclusively) when there is the added element of sexual tension.

Some basic premises of the production work extremely well. In particular the sets mimic the flow of the plays, progressively becoming more cluttered as the interactions get more complex. Kenneth Grady Barker, the scenic designer, and Dustin ONeill, the production designer, clue in the audience that the emotional content is becoming more complex in layers through the clever use of stagecraft and set additions.
There is a six-person cast that alternates throughout the various plays, and each player inhabits more than one role. Of the many excellent actors, Anna ODonoghue stands out in her range of emotions, although this may have more to do with the characters she plays than anything else. In any case, the entire cast play the various roles very well, never repeating the same caricatures in different theatrical pieces.

As with any theatrical piece by multiple authors writing separate pieces that are connected tenuously by a theme, some of the pieces shine and some pale by comparison. The axiom holds true in this show as well.

One stand-out was Flagged as Inappropriate, by Sam Forman. The impact of this piece was driven by a particularly interesting and unsettling premise, supported amply by the performance of the actors. Men in particular can sympathize with the two main characters, their foibles and mistakes.

Another stand-out was The Christmas Present, by Amy Hersong. This piece, rather thin on paper, benefitted from stand-out performances by Anna ODonoghue and Craig Jorczak who brought a emotional openness that is hard to convey in the short time allowed.

None of the six pieces was bad, although some didnt resonate with the audience as strongly as others. Some depended too much on drug use to open up communication lines. This was integral to some pieces, but absent in others, but its use was so strong in some of the plays that its absence was noticeable in others.

The last play, Mommy Says Im Pretty on the Insides by Lucy Alibar, was quite funny, but also the least integral within the flow and theme of the evening. The play could be expanded and stand alone but did not fit easily into the evening as a whole either in tone or theme.

All in all, Too Little Too Late is quite a pleasant evening, but it strives for more. Unfortunately, it falls just short of the mark.

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