To begin the play, an audience member is invited on stage to flip a coin. The stage manager says the result, “tails”, will influence the actions of the play. Every time we hear a short tone, it means the coin flip affected that moment. This setup leads to some very interesting existential ideas presented in the second act.
With the main story being about a young woman, Waverly, worrying that her sister was killed in the 9/11 attacks, comedy is unexpected. However, overall, it is fair to call this performance a comedy. This is possible because the attacks aren’t actually recent. As the saying goes, tragedy plus time equals comedy.
What really makes the performance enjoyable are the characters. Laura Berner Taylor as Waverly is delightful as she shows great range from very happy to incredibly sad. Matthew Nerber as Andrew is awkwardly charming. It’s a pleasure watching him light up as he discusses some of his favorite books. Rachel Christianson has the difficult task of playing Joyce, who is a puppet. She does such a great job that the oddness of a puppet quickly dissipates. Maximillian Lapine as Ron steals many scenes as the charmingly goofy next door neighbor. Everyone wanted him to be their friend by the end of the show. And to top it off, they all feed off each other superbly resulting in a fantastic performance.
Don’t miss one of this year’s best shows and see Recent Tragic Events at Athenaeum Theatre through April 10th!