“Based on a Totally True Story”
2438 Scranton Rd.
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
In the historic Tremont area
Thursdays through Saturdays
Until September 14, 2013
Tickets are $15 general admission
$12 for seniors
$10 for students
Two young professional writers meet and fall head over heels in love. One of the writers works as the creator of the storyline for “The Flash” comic books while writing a play on the side. The other is a reporter for “The Village Voice” who is working on a novel at night. They decide to live together with plans in the future of making it a permanent arrangement…then disaster strikes.
The playwright’s unproduced play is sent to a Hollywood producer husband and wife team who decide to “run with it”. The playwright soon finds his life spiraling out of control as his 60 year old father announces that he is having an affair and is leaving his wife and moving to New York to live with them, all of Ethan’s time is tied up trying to keep up with the constant rewrites of the screen play, he gets behind on “The Flash” stories, his new play is put on hold, and there is no time for a real relationship with the love of his life.
“Based on a Totally True Story” (written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by Cory Moiner) is a light comedy sitcom about Ethan and Michael who must learn to struggle with the curse of success. What makes the show such a delight is the brilliant use of the actors. Zac Hudak is perfect as Ethan whose naivety makes him totally unprepared for the trials of notoriety. Stuart Hoffman is Michael who plays the crowded out lover of the relationship with a nice balance of insecurity, compassion and neediness. Bobby Coyne steals the scenes as Tyler (Ethan’s “Flash” boss), the bored Apple Computer Tech Boy, the bizarre video store clerk (laugh out loud here) and Ethan’s LA fling. Lisa Wiley plays Mary Ellen Eustice (the Hollywood producer) who has seen it all and knows the cruelty that is Hollywood. Lastly is Clyde Simon who plays Ethan’s Dad. His comedic timing is light and right on the mark and he is an absolute delight to see work.
While the show is fairly predictable it is none the less an enjoyable evening of live theater. At the end each character gives a brief synopsis while revealing their futures and accepting their fates. As Mary Ellen puts it, “…life is just a series of compromises.”
The show makes good use of asides to the audience, breaking the fourth wall between actors and audience using lighting to announce the change. The set is brilliantly laid out with five “mini-sets” that the actors work from. There is a large red circle in the center of the set where the asides are staged from with a rainbow of colors streaming off from the circle towards the five sets with the floor color of each colorful segment matching the wall color of each set. The props are minimalistic and do not get in the way of the play.
My only criticism would be the argument scenes. With the entire theater being approximately 20’ x 60’ and holding around 50 seats the loud shouting could have been toned down a bit. It might be more effective to show anger by not shouting but by “seething”.
Prude Alert: It is a play about gay men and there are demonstrations of affection including brief kissing between the two. The “F bomb” is dropped twice (although Ethan is reprimanded by his dad when he does it in front of him…very funny and a fresh idea). There are sexual references and innuendos. If you find yourself offended by this, I suggest you stay home for this one.
Shooting From The Lip (My Last Words): “Based on a Totally True Story” falls into that genre of “theater light”. There are no universal truths unveiled, no earth shattering revelations, and no life changing philosophy to take home and use for the rest of your life. It is simply what it is…a light comedy to make us laugh and distract us from life’s woes for awhile. Well worth the price of the ticket.
convergence-continuum is a small theater group that is housed in the Liminis in the middle of the Tremont area. They are a dedicated group who for ten years has been producing top grade productions. They are actors who love what they do. Check out their web-site, become a friend on Facebook and support them with donations and ticket sales. This is what live theater is all about in Cleveland.
“Based on a Totally True Story” runs Thursdays through Saturdays until September 14 at the Liminis, 2438 Scranton Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44113 in the historic Tremont neighborhood. Tickets are $15 general admission, $12 for seniors and $10 for students. Reservations and information can be found at www.convergence-continuum.org or by calling 216-687-0074.