“Is everybody happy?” is a question frequently on the lips of high-powered theatrical agent Diane, who probably micro-manages her own dreams. In her job, she must be in the moment, on top of her game, fighting for every advantage for her actor clients, like a mama bear ferociously protecting her defenseless cubs.
To see Diane in action, with verbal sword and shield intact, come view “The Little Dog Laughed” by Douglas Carter Beane, being engagingly staged by Pantochino After Dark Productions weekends until Saturday, October 13 at Arts Hall at ECA, 55 Audubon Street, New Haven.
Relatively new to the theatrical arena, Pantochino Productions has concentrated on children’s theater, summer camp and acting classes and is now broadening its spectrum to include adult fare. The inviting set designed by Von Del Mar is a welcoming venue for Diane, a feisty and opinionated Melissa MacLeod Herion, to hold court. Deference must be paid to the queen of negotiations as she conducts and consummates her deals.
A new movie is being bandied about for Hollywood, an extension of a highly successful Broadway run and she wants her boy in the lead role. Nothing is out of bounds in her realm of control. Said actor Mitch Green, played with just the right amount of angst by Jimmy Johnansmeyer, is conflicted. As a homosexual still firmly with one foot both in and out of the closet, he resists Diane’s advice that to land the role of a homosexual in the movie he must be a heart throb and imminently straight.
When Mitch calls an escort service and orders a male companion, he meets Alex, an accommodating Justin Rugg, who doesn’t even recognize the star. Alex serves as a paid companion for a living, despite having a relationship with Ellen, a savvy and focused Ruth Kennedy.
How Diane manipulates Mitch, Alex and Ellen, making them puppets to her Machiavelli, is a delightful and entertaining experience, thanks to director Bert Bernardi.
For tickets ($25), call Pantochino Productions at 203-937-6206 or online at www.pantochino.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Get ready for the holiday of Halloween by attending the world premiere of a new musical “The Groovy Ghoulies,” Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday October 27 and Sunday October 28 at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. All tickets are $16 for this “rockin’ monster mash of a musical.”
Let Diane give you a lesson in the fine act of negotiation and control, worthy of Fifty Shades of Christian Grey.