I missed Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize winning play The Flick last year, so I was excited to experience it. Like most plays I am going to review, I shied away from the reviews and what anyone said about it. I have to say after seeing this award winning play, I just do not get it, nor does most of the audience. Three hours of sad-sack employees sweeping floors of a rundown Movie Theater does not for me a play make. Maybe it is because in all honesty, I could have cared less about a plot less play about the tedious activities of verbally awkward people. After this play I wanted to know them even less. Three hours to see how run of the mill life is…..why? Do we not already know this, so we have to sit and watch it? I just have better things to do with my time. I actually needed a shower after all the sweeping up of popcorn, soda and god knows what else.
The only good thing about this play is the performances and the stamina of which they use to plod through this dull material.
Set in David Zinn’s authentic dilapidated single-screen movie theater in Worcester County, Mass., 35-year-old Sam (Matthew Maher) is showing 20-year-old Avery (Aaron Clifton Moten) the ropes. Right here the plot fails because seriously how hard is it to tell someone how to sweep the floors? The two pass their time and waste ours with small talk, as Avery shows his film knowledge. Enter the Goth chick projectionist Rose (Louisa Krause). Sam is pissed off that Rose has the job he wants, as he has been employee longer than her. The fact that he has a crush on her doesn’t help. Rose likes Avery, Avery is a loner and Sam is well slow. The employees make their minimum jobs more lucrative by stealing part of the proceeds, the movie theatre is sold and life moves on. The end.
Director Sam Gold makes his ensemble believable, which includes Alex Hanna in two why are they on-stage roles. Maher makes Sam funny as well as pathetic. Moten, shows us that even with an awkwardness at 20 there is a chance to break out and have a meaningful life away from the mundane. Krause lets us see her vulnerability hidden behind the masks most of us wear.
In all honesty I really want to know from all those who love this play….how did this win the Pulitzer Prize away from Fun Home? Again The EMPORER HAS NO CLOTHES!
The Flick: Barrow Street Theatre 27 Barrow St.