Carpenter Square Theatre is celebrating 30 years of producing eclectic and occasionally controversial entertainment. “Lobby Hero” is a comedy/drama by Kenneth Lonergan and is a difficult challenge for Director Doobie Potter who rises to that challenge. The action takes place in the lobby of a Manhattan high-rise apartment building. The lobby is always manned by a security guard, either Jeff, or the security supervisor William with the title of Captain. They frequently have encounters with the police officers whose ‘beat’ includes the apartment building. The officers are Bill and his rookie partner, Dawn. Apparently the two cops are more than partners, at least as far as Dawn is concerned.
Jeff is the hero in the lobby and the role is nicely handled by David Burkhart. He is the sort of curious person who never interferes in another’s life and would never deliberately interrogate anyone, yet always manages to irritate friends and colleagues into revealing far more than they wish. Besides, he seems so trustworthy! The Captain, William, is the sort of no-nonsense fellow who likes to keep his cards close to his vest. Albert Bostick, Jr. is excellent in the role and furthermore he is Assistant Director and one of the featured artists exhibiting as well. This makes him a ‘lobby hero’ as well! Interacting with these two security agents are the police officers on the beat. Bill and Dawn stop in frequently to share pertinent events in the neighborhood and include some personal information. Jeff befriends Dawn the female rookie who is played by Huliamatu Bah. Bah is new to Carpenter Square and is somewhat of a rookie actor. However, she performs with experience, leaving the uncertainties to her character. Bill is also new to Carpenter Square but has performed in the Rose State 10-Minute Play Festival. The four actor cast delivers the script with intensity and commitment; however the performance is a little choppy in some respects.
Lonergan’s script for “Lobby Hero” includes several short scenes in which the actors must grow from calm discussion to sudden excitement, in some cases reaching an almost hysterical reaction, and then calming down again before the scene ends. It is extremely difficult for actors to handle such rapid transitions repeatedly which accounts for the slightly choppy delivery in most cases. While “Lobby Hero” is a comedy/drama, the cast certainly does an excellent job of capitalizing on the humor as they maintain the integrity of the dramatic story. These transitional hitches will certainly smooth out by the second weekend of the show beginning October 25, 2013.
Technically the set is pleasing and the costumes, sound and lighting are very smooth. Potter’s direction is excellent and the assistance of Bostick as assistant director is a nice match. The smooth technical aspects are the work of Stage Manager Bob Cross and the entire crew bringing a great deal to the production. Also, the art work hanging in the lobby is very interesting as well as beautiful thanks again to Albert Bostick Jr. and the very talented Steve Jackson.
“Lobby Hero” can be seen at Carpenter Square, 800 West Main in downtown Oklahoma City through November 13, 2013. For reservations call the box office at 405-232-6500 or visit www.carpentersquare.com.