From the opening moments, you know that things are going to bypass testy and go quickly to hostile in Sam Marks’ play about an unsuccessful writer, Frank, trying to land an apprenticeship for his daughter, Adrianne, with Frank’s former friend, successful novelist Tom.
Frank and Adrianne are the not-particularly wanted guests at the rural home of Tom and his annoyed daughter Ellen and we quickly discover why the welcome mat isn’t completely rolled out: This whining bundle of needs would be unwelcome just about anywhere.
Unfortunately, Marks does little to turn this into more than a grad school writing program complaint session. Of course, there’s a plagiarism question. Of course, there’s generation-hoping attraction. And even after voices and accusations have been raised, our foursome stops to play a too-long game, a book geek variation on Balderdash.
Despite strong performances, particularly by the men, there just isn’t enough reason to care about any of these characters. Nothing feels at stake. I was far more interested in knowing what was going on up the road at, allegedly, Charles Van Doren’s home.
The Delling Shore
Through April 7 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville (Bingham Stage).
By Sam Marks. Directed by Meredith McDonough. Scenic Designer: Daniel Zimmerman. Costume Designer: Lorraine Venberg. Lighting Designers: Russell H. Champa, Dani Clifford. Sound Designer: Benjamin Marcum. Media Designer: Philip Allgeier. Stage Manager: Zachary Krohn. Dramaturg: Hannah Rae Montgomery. Casting: Henry Russell. Performers: Bruce McKenzie (Frank Bay), Jim Frangione (Thomas Wright), Catherine Combs (Adrianne Bay), Meredith Forlenza (Ellen Wright).