In what is a different kind of play for A.R. Gurney, “The Fourth Wall” is about a wall that Peggy(Ann Marie Morelli), has left blank, it is occupied by nothing in her home. Her husband Roger(Nicholas Viselli), is concerned because the wall makes a person want to act, or talk politics. The beginning of the play is outright hilarious, to watch Julia (Pamela Sabaugh), and Roger acting imaginary scenes. Julia is a “horn dog” who dated George W. Bush in college and had many extra marital affairs and past lovers. The play moves on to Peggy’s political philosophies and the wall scares Roger to the point where he calls the drama department at a local college where Floyd (Stephan Drabicki), shows up at there house. It is all humorous, and Cole Porter music,too.
A.R. Gurney who has written many great plays, from “Cocktail Hour”, “Dining Room”, “Love Letter”, “Sweet Sue”, “old Boy”, “Later Life” and more, writes the same genre that deals with “Waspy” people, there rich lifestyles and the changing atmosphere that surrounds them. “The Fourth Wall” is different under the direction of Christopher Burris, he does not have the characters here as Waspy as in Gurney’s past plays. Burris also has the characters both funny and tense, it seesaws between light and heavy.
The lighting in “Fourth Wall” is very good. The lighting props up the different and many moods in this play. From the Jazz lighting during the Cole Porter songs, to the singular lighting when each actor is speaking. The lighting really sets the pace in this play. The action happens fast here at times, and Bert Scott does a masterful job in effecting the lighting.
Courtney Butt also does a nice job on the costumes, from Floyd’s professor tweed jacket with the patches and hacking pockets, to Julia’s sexy dress, Butt has a great eye for this play and what the actors should look like in this performance.
Christopher Burris did a fine job directing this difficult play. It is a long play at one hour forty minutes with no intermission, it is a difficult task to keep the audience interested this long with no break. I think this play would have worked better if it had an intermission fifty five minutes into it for two reasons, the first is that the length of the play, the second and more important is that at fifty five minutes the play takes a different tone or theme, an intermission would have set this up a little better.
The cast were all good in this performance, notably Sabaugh and Viselli. Both actors had great comedic timing, both kept the audience interested in this show.
The Theater Breaking Through Barriers produced this show, it is as I said a different kind of Gurney play, one that mostly is seen in regional theater. TBTB produced this as a message of breaking through the wall to get to the other side. For Gurney, this play was as diverse as the audience that was watching it. Gurney strayed from his normal different scenes with actors performing different roles. It is about a wall that makes people do wacky things, it bares a question for Peggy as to what’s behind the wall and is it worth exploring.