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Off Broadway

KingDom Come: A Dating Puzzle

KingDom Come: A Dating Puzzle
KingDom Come
Down in the deep Roundabout Underground, we find ourselves face to face with Samantha, an obese woman, propped up in bed in Carson City, Nevada. She stares through us blankly as we walk into the theatre and take our seats to wait for Kingdom Come. Carmen M. Herilihy (Samantha) shows great composure as her character waits for her home health aid, Delores (played with convincing charm and care by Socorro Santiago) to arrive. When she finally does, they watch The Price is Right together, eat, and talk about Delores’s aspiring actor/busboy son, Dominick who’s struggling to make a name for himself in LA.
KingDom Come
Over on the other side of the exceptionally functional set (good work set designer: Arnulfo Maldonado), a worn out office worker anxiously and depressively works away on her computer late into the night. Layne, meticulously well played by Crystal Finn, seems destined to live the sad and lonely life of the anxiously shy, until a ‘selfie’-obsessed co-worker, Suz (a miraculously layered performance by Stephanie Styles) struts in and shakes up her life. She forcibly suggests online dating to Layne, and we are off to the races.
KingDom Come
It’s a compelling piece of playwriting by Jenny Rachel Weiner, that begs us to question ideas about love and loneliness, and what happens when we fall for someone who is pretending to be someone else while simultaneously, we are pretending to be someone we are not. It leads me to ask, do we actually fall in love with the fantasy image or the person who is hiding behind the fantasy?
KingDom Come
Samantha is a complex puzzle and at the heart of this deception.  We’re not quite sure why she is the way she is or why she does the things she does, but it’s clear she’s very frustrated and angry with her world, especially with her mother.  We get glimpses inside as she opens up a little to Dominick (an assured and sweet performance by Alex Hernandez) when he comes to town to visit his mother, and recognizes
Samantha from high school.  But we are not clear as to why it is his identity that she hijacks on the online dating service; stealing his words, phrases, life, and photos.  Samantha as Dom actually turns out to be quite a good guy; caring and thoughtful, speaking to other suitors with kindness and respect.  In a cyber meet-cute, it is Layne, who reaches out online pretending to be the sexy Courtney, who falls for Samantha/Dom.
 KingDom Come
This is one of those plays that I couldn’t help myself getting sucked into.  I was so curious to see how it was all going to turn out in the end, even when the sign posts directing the action seemed pretty clear (great projection design by Darrel Maloney). The constant lies made me nervous and cringe throughout. I wasn’t even sure how invested I was in any of their lives, nor if I liked or understood these people, but I was drawn in enough to stay engaged. Weiner does a good job keeping us intrigued as does director, Kip Fagan, but not so well with our understanding of these souls, especially Samantha. Samantha stays a bit ambiguous; we understand her loneliness and isolation, but why choose a man to personify? And why does she only engage with women?  Is she trying to treat other women in the way she would like to be treated? Or is there more to it then that?
KingDom Come
Finn and Weiner do a better job with the shy and nervous Layne as she confronts her own deception and revelations.  It’s a journey we can get on board with, forgive, and also feel sympathy for. She shows us such a desire for love and understanding that we can’t help wanting her to find it. Styles and Hernandez play their respective roles with a whole lot of surprising heart and depth, creating layers to their conventional sidekick parts, when others might have settled for simple stereotypes. I think they excelled even when the play did not.
 I’m not sure Weiner gives us enough to draw any conclusions at the end of their charade, so we are left with trying to solve the emotional puzzle on our own. It is a complicated dating world out there, when sad souls present fantasy creations in hopes of finding connection and love, but in the end of KingDom Come, the picture isn’t quite complete. A few pieces are still missing.
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Off Broadway

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to

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