The Roommate – Marlene S. Gaylinn

Long Wharf Theatre begins its 2018-2019 Season with Jen Silverman’s play, “The Roommate.” Silverman, whose unusual fantasy, “The Moors,” was successfully presented at Yale Repertory Theatre, now writes in a style that is termed “realism.” However, her way-out themes and clever phrases still prevail here. Presented in one, overlong act, this play is also unusual in that it features two middle-aged women, who seem to have little in common until they discover that they have similar personalities.

“Sharon” (Linda Powell), a recently divorced woman in her fifties, rents a space in her Iowa home to “Robyn,” a street smart New Yorker (Tasha Lawrence), who is also single and in her fifties. Along the way, Sharon becomes fascinated by the stranger’s unusual habits and more exciting life. The banter between the two women is witty, especially when the homeowner discovers that her tenant smokes, and the plants she brings with her form the cigarettes’ ingredients. Robyn has a number of other shocking secrets but that’s all you need to know about the development of the two characters.

“Roommate,” can be simply enjoyed as an amusing, TV sit-com but don’t look for any profound meanings. Powell and Lawrence execute their roles with considerable talent but the playwright’s words become tedious as the flimsy plot drags along. While the realistic kitchen and adjoining, L-shaped dining-living room set by Dane Laffrey, outshines the play, Silverman’s characters are unrealistic, and the cockeyed theme that bad behavior is a positive solution to middle-age, loneliness, and an uneventful life, presents an upside down view of reality.

Plays: to Nov. 4, 2018 Tickets: 203-787-4282

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