High energy and high anxiety steer The Recommendation at The Old Globe
By Diana Saenger
How many times have we said something to a friend that would come back to bite us? That’s what happens to three young men in Jonathan Caren’s “The Recommendation,” which is premiering at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre through Feb. 26.
“The Recommendation,” contains a brief fight scene and lots of profanity. However, Caren’s imaginative plot and astute dialogue create funny, tense, conventional and yet unexpected moments that travel a winding road and remind the men of a father’s quote, delivered as he patted his heart, “Everything you need (in life) is right here.”
The curtain rises on bright, charismatic and quick-on-his-toes Aaron Feldman (Evan Todd) who has, not only attending Harvard to his credit, but also the Ivy League Brown University. He’s anxious to make his mark as a filmmaker, and somehow after all the schooling isn’t quite sure how to go about that. He befriends Iskinder Iudoku (Brandon Gill), the son of an Ethiopian, who warns him when setting off for his career, “be wary of a man who offers you the world.”
Aaron and Iskinder become roommates in college, but while Iskinder wants to buckle down and study hard to become an attorney, Aaron sets his sights on planning lots of parties. One night, as Aaron is making a store run, he gets pulled over for a traffic infraction and thrown in jail where he meets Dwight Barnes (Jimonn Cole).
Dwight is a chameleon; one minute playing nice to Aaron as he sizes him up and learns more about him, the next minute switching personalities to scare Aaron to tears with fear of what could happen to him if he gets moved into county prison.
Transition to a few years later after Iskinder has a successful law career and even ends up defending felon Dwight in an effort to lessen his jail time.
Aaron finds his golden sunset in Hollywood. All three lives are turned upside down when Iskinder and Aaron visit a gym and discover Dwight is a janitor there. Old wounds flare as accusations reach a fever pitch.
All three actors do a wonderful job in cementing their characters, difficult with a simple set design by Alexander Dodge of just a square box stage and two benches that easily “transform” through several different scenarios.
If you go
What: “The Recommendation”
Where: The Old Globe Theatre, 1363 Old Globe Way, Balboa Park
When: Matinees, evenings through Feb. 26
Tickets: start at $29, (619) 23-GLOBE or www.TheOldGlobe.org
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