Interconnected scenes from an Emergency Room

Ginger (Cheryl Monroe) awakes from her hypnosis, much to the dismay of Mark (Morgan Nichols).  PhotoS by Renée Torrière

Ginger (Cheryl Monroe) awakes from her hypnosis, much to the dismay of Mark (Morgan Nichols). PhotoS by Renée Torrière

BY YANNIC RACK  |  If you’ve ever been to an ER, you know it’s not the most enjoyable place to be. Bad injuries, doctors and nurses rushing in and out, distressed relatives looking for patients — and possibly a few freaks as well.

Go to your nearest ER right now, though, and you probably won’t find a rookie dominatrix with her (injured) customer, a hypnotized woman, a mother pretending to be her daughter’s age and a college student who almost killed her professor.

Yet, in “Life in the ER,” they all meet on a Saturday night at the County General Emergency Room. And what’s more, they all seem to know each other. Brenda brings Diane in after she almost overdoses on ecstasy and alcohol at their college reunion. Dominatrix Misty escorts Marty, who turns out to be Brenda’s husband. June thinks she killed her professor with a textbook but learns that he survived. Later, the professor meets an old friend, Karen, who pretends to be 25 for her college student boyfriend — a farce that blows up when her boyfriend flirts with Jenna, who turns out to be Karen’s daughter.

‘ER’ stitches together entertaining episodes but lacks a clear purpose

The misunderstandings and discoveries that occur throughout the play are actually quite entertaining — but only as long as you’re not looking for more. While the episodic premise works, the play’s one-hour duration doesn’t leave enough time to fully explore each character or guide them all towards a satisfactory resolution. In fact, you’ll be waiting for any climax at all. At least the play manages to come full circle with a line from the beginning that gets repeated by the same character at the end (“We can stay and catch up!”).

Brenda (Jeremy Peterson) is trying to calm down Diane (Lally Ross) while Nurse Ames (Marshall Foltz) is just trying to do his job.

Brenda (Jeremy Peterson) is trying to calm down Diane (Lally Ross) while Nurse Ames (Marshall Foltz) is just trying to do his job.

Without a clear peak or purpose other than a series of episodes that turn out to be intertwined, there still remains a well-constructed story and a solid effort by the large cast.

Writer, director and co-producer Rebecca Roe plays a small part as the aforementioned dominatrix Misty, whose real name is Jill, and who lets the audience wait for quite a while before predictably exposing her suggestive leather outfit. Lally Ross co-produces with Roe and gives a memorable, layered performance as Diane.

Morgan Nichols, who plays Mark, stands out as the most talented actor, while Marshall Foltz, as Nurse Ames, is the most entertaining of the troupe, running back and forth between the patients with real attitude and, as it turns out, a soft spot for Mark.

In “Life in the ER,” nothing stays for long. Everybody’s in, and then they’re out again. It would have been nice to have more purpose or meaning — but maybe that’s not what life in the ER is like.

THEATER   |  LIFE IN THE ER
A Dream Up Festival Presentation
Written & Directed by Rebecca Roe
Music by Heather Edwards
Runtime: 60 min.
Sept. 6 & 7 at 2 p.m.
At Theater for the New City
155 First Ave. (btw. 9th & 10th Sts.)
Tickets: $15
Reservations: 212-254-1109
Or dreamupfestival.org

Also visit theaterforthenewcity.net

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