by: Sandi Durell
It’s going on during a hot Houston, Texas summer in 1983 and loosely based upon the friendship of these two larger than life characters, with Harrelson directing the comedy at New World Stages in New York City.
One of the best parts of this play is the projection videos of news, politics and entertainment from the time period as they resolve into each scene. You’ve got coke-snorting Dago-Czech (Lee Osborio) who gets really pissed when someone leaves off the Czech part of his name, who is white, but acts and talks black, as he and Frankie (Tyler Jacob Rollinson) refer to each other with the N-word. They work as laborers at a bricklaying company run by Jurgen (Nick Wyman) a Nazi-type enthusiast, who is the father of Batina (Shannon Garland), a high-pitched chatterbox who had a thing for Dago-Czech but is now re-ignited with Zach, a thick syrupy drawled Brandon Coffey, who went off to college, returning to replace Dago as the new foreman.
On the other hand, Jackie’s girlfriend Shareeta (Marsha Stephanie Blake), who is a tough-talking, argumentative psychologist, has more than her share of expletives. Somehow, after meeting this chick, I couldn’t imagine having her as my shrink!
When they all wind up at Batina’s house for her 18th birthday party, her father Jurgen, whose father was a Nazi, shows them a gun that was supposedly used in an attempted failed assassination of Hitler. Act I ends as the gun disappears.
The second Act is spent searching for the weapon and, when found, attempting to replace it in Jurgen’s house in the dark. The bottom line is that Harrelson may be a darn good actor (TVCheers; Film “The People vs. Larry Flint”) but he is a fledgling at writing and directing. The characters are screaming at each other half the time in offensive language, drinking, smoking pot, lusting and womanizing in this dimly conceived plot based on his and Lyman’s friendship. The only other connection to Harrelson, is hearing his voice pre-show telling us to turn off our cell phones.
The scenic design is by Dane Laffrey, costumes Kristy Leigh Hall, lighting Jen Schriever, sound Brett Jarvis with projection design by Imaginary Media.
“Bullet for Adolph” plays at New World Stages on West 50th Street thru September 9th
(212) 239-6200, telecharge.com. Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes.
Photo: Carol Rosegg