On October 11, 2012 I was introduced to a promising new playwright named Owen Dunne when I attended the NY premiere of his new show "Positions," directed by Steve Bakunas, and presented by Red Barn Studio, Steven Bakunas and Tony and Golden Globe winner Linda Lavin.
Starring Michelle Gagliano, Anna Stromberg, and Mike O'Neil, "Positions" is a dark comedy about sexual dysfunction in a marriage and a husband's desperate attempt to remedy the situation. When the lights went down, I was quickly immersed in Owen's strong, witty, and relatable writing, which was aided by Mike and Michelle's great comedic acting as husband and wife "Leo" and "Hilary." Full on, out-loud laughter ensued throughout the first act. I have seen and heard similar stories to the ones of "Leo" and "Hilary," however, I was not prepared for the twist this story took, which made me eager for the intermission to end!
At the top of the second act, we are introduced to "Cassandra," played by Anna Stromberg, who is interestingly brought into the lives of "Leo" and "Hilary." Anna shined brightly and added much comedic flair to a second act. It's during this act that my favorite line in the whole show was uttered by "Cassandra," "They maybe good men, but they don't make good husbands." While the second act was entertaining it left me wanting a few moments more.
As a director, Steve Bakunas presented a great interpretation of Owen's words. I hope he will get to direct more shows here in New York!
I think Owen has a lot of promise as a playwright. The strength of the first act is a testament to that. Its comedic and dramatic moments demonstrate Owen's good writing. If this show has another life, I hope the second act could get fleshed out a bit more, but it definitely has a great start. I just wanted a few more links connected, but I can see why it was written the way it was.
I would still recommend "Positions" because Red Barn Studio and Owen Dunne are new entities in New York, but well known in their hometown of Wilmington, NC. So many theatre companies have closed their doors over the years that it's nice to see there are still more emerging! I hope you do take a chance with "Positions" because it's a new original work by a rising playwright and theatre company. For $20, you'll be helping support live theatre and be entertained!
"Positions" plays at the Roy Arias Theatre in NYC (300 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue) through October 21. Click here for tickets!