This review of It's Getting Tired Mildred at Under St. Mark's Theater was written by Christopher M. Struck and published in Volume X, Issue 7 (2017) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!
It's Getting Tired Mildred
Written, Directed & Produced by Roger Nasser
Lighting Design & Board Operation by Berit Johnson
Costume Design by Karle J. Meyers, Kaitlyn Day & Holly Pocket McCaffrey
Theme & Score by Stephen Sabaugh
Under St. Mark's Theater
94 St. Mark's Place
New York, New York 10009
Welcome to the town of Mildred Springs or should I say "Welcome Back." This show's premiere episode this season at Under St. Mark's Theater is also the 24th episode of It's Getting Tired Mildred. Most of the cast returns as well marking this particularly interesting and unique drama (at least as far as theater in New York is concerned) as a bit of a celebration for the myriad of regulars (in attendance) who have enjoyed the series over the past three years. Roger Nasser, the writer, director, and producer of It's Getting Tired Mildred (under the name Six of Six Productions) is to be credited for bringing variety to the New York theater scene with this "soap opera for the stage."
Set in the town of Mildred Springs in 1985, this farcical dramedy relies on cliches and hijinks to satisfy and enamor the audience. It does a good job too by consistently varying the delivery and timing of punchlines during short bits that showcase characters with obvious history, chemistry, and rivalry. Like any good soap opera, there are affairs, personality clashes, emotional traumas, and hidden secrets. Each of which the writer ramped up on overdrive as the cast features 22 performers and everything seems to need to be achieved in five minutes or less. Often lovers are traded in from nearby scene to scene or covert affairs are revealed just as one unwitting lover leaves the stage. After the bare minimum of witty banter, social niceties and norms are cast aside for a raucous turn on the community couch with the lights fading to black just as the actors lock in an overly passionate embrace. You'd feel bad for one dame only to find she's screwing someone else behind her lover's back too.
While the production does rely on at times egregiously simple dialogue to drive narratives and heighten the drama, it compounds so quickly that you can't help but laugh. For example, one cast member was replaced by a new actor and the character had just gotten married, so when describing his marriage in the first scene, he triumphantly stated, "I'm a different man!" It's almost like an anti-joke where the lack of a punchline forces you to chuckle where you expected to anyway and then you laugh more in an attempt to justify your laughing. Part of this is because the actors are so serious about their roles strutting in or sulking or sauntering to take their simultaneously stereotypical and important roles from oversexualized hypnotherapist to the family patriarch. It's posh, camp, flamboyant and also extremely well-orchestrated.
A number of the actors here are fun to watch like the lead woman in the "Milton" family who has dominated Mildred Springs, Charmaine Milton, played by the exquisitely dressed Morgan Zipf-Meister. She is about to confront her father, the lovably evil patriarch, Cornelius Milton, played by an equally talented Linus Gelber. A grave secret found within a file aptly labeled "secret" has been slowly spreading from character to character. It threatens to change everything we know about at least one character and perhaps two. Roger Nasser, the show's writer, understands that newcomers may not know all of the background and thankfully he has built some history into each little bit. Although for some reason it seems easier to figure out who's sleeping with whom than what each character's name is. There is a lot to look forward to in Episode 25 on Saturday, November 4, 2017, at 10:30 p.m. at Under St. Mark's Theater. Get advance tickets by visiting www.horsetrade.info