New York City Theater
Presented by the New York Frigid Festival 2008 Kraine Theatre, 85 East 4th St.
“Stuck” could have been the quintessential New York story. The heroine, scheduled to meet her husband for lunch, stops to use the bathroom facilities at a Starbucks (or Starbucks look-alike). She is directed to the basement where she finds a scrubby, filthy storeroom with cleaning supplies and an unappetizing toilet. Since the toilet does not flush, the previous user has left his calling card. Ugh! Gross! To top this, she is locked in and no one hears her cries.
vSuch is the introduction. It is downhill from there on. If there is any redeeming moment, it is the instant when the heroine (dubbed Kiki) drops her cell phone into the toilet. We can all imagine what that might be like!
Along the way Kiki/Jennie bemoans her marriage, her friendships, her existence in general, turning from her immediate plight to a broader consideration of life. Her state of mind moves from annoyance, to impatience, to impotence, to despair, to resignation, to fantasy dreaming. It is not unlikely that any one who is imprisoned would experience a similar range of emotions. But nothing in this particular portrayal is convincing.
In fact Jennie Franks’ one-woman show never becomes the clever, poignant piece it might have been—using humor or drama or both. In this piece the writing and performance make for a decidedly amateurish effort. Excrement is the metaphor for “Stuck,” and serves as critical statement as well.
In all, a self-serving, self-indulgent effort that does not belong on the stage.
March 4, 2008