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Gate B23: Carry-On Baggage

droppedImageGREYMATTERS  PRODUCTIONS

presents
Carry-on Baggage

When the flight’s delayed, the tension takes off…

 

…missed connections

…reconnections

…disconnections

…new connections

Flight 7051: Palm Beach-Newark…DELAYED. A divorcée, a lonely 20-something guy, a surly teen, his pissed-off Dad and a dementia-addled woman plagued by pungent memories of the Jersey Turnpike, are stranded at the gate to wrestle with their ‘baggage’ and themselves.

Written by Debbie Slevin

Past Productions of Gate B23

FringeNYC , August 2010

Manhattan Repertory Theater, Winterfest 2012

 

Check out the fantastic reviews for GATE B23

FringeNYC Festival

Review by Roger Nasser

August 15, 2010

Pictured: A scene from GATE B23 Gate B23 (photo © George Rand)

Traveling can really be a pain sometimes, especially when there are delays. It is even more annoying when the departure time keeps getting pushed back. That is the premise of GreyMatters Productions’ Gate B23. In it, we meet seven travelers flying from Palm Beach Airport to Newark. We get to know these travelers pretty well during the course of the show as their storylines unfold. There are three main storylines, but they all flow really well in and out of each other. Both the transitions between delays and the focus from each storyline to the next are very smooth.

Gate B23 is a fun ensemble show. Scott Morse is very charming as Zach, a confident and self-assured twentysomething guy who begins to flirt with Lilah. Jody Lyn Flynn is magnificent as Lilah, who is heading back to Jersey to finalize her divorce. Flynn brings many layers to Lilah and is a joy to watch. The chemistry between Flynn and Morse is really great and extremely believable, and it is fun watching their interactions.

Also very impressive are Marcy Orloff Prastos and Sue-Ellen Mandell, who play Lotte, a middle-aged woman, and Bertha, her mother, in a wheelchair, who doesn’t want to go back to New Jersey. Their relationship is very engaging and convincing. Mandell’s Bertha is so endearing and funny—and she gets to say a few zingers. Prastos brings a thoughtfulness and strength to Lotte, who has to deal with her dementia-stricken mother.

Alex Adams and Bill Fitzhugh provide a lot of tension as Travis, a troubled teenager, and Walter, the father who is bringing him back to Jersey. And Gina Marie Jamieson is a scene-stealer as the Teenage Girl. Jamieson has probably the least amount of dialogue in the show but she really reacts to everything that was going on.

Kudos go to Debbie Slevin for delivering a smart and funny script and possessing a keen director’s eye. I really enjoyed watching the show. I loved the characters that Slevin wrote. They were all real people, some in very difficult situations. There are even a few plot twists that are so well-thought-of that I really didn’t expect them, which is really refreshing. Gate B23 has the feel of the first episode of a really good series—and I mean that in a very good way. I wanted to see what happened to the characters when they got on the plane and then when they get to their respective destinations in New Jersey. The possibilities are really endless. Gate B23 will entertain you with a great premise and story and also make you want more. I look forward to more works from Slevin and GreyMatters Productions.

Opened: August 14, 2010

Closed: August 21, 2010

 

 

Gate B23: Getting There Is Half The Fun And Double The Heartache (Fringe Festival 2010)
by STEPHEN TORTORA-LEE on AUGUST 19, 2010
Gate B23: Getting There Is Half The Fun And Double The Heartache (Fringe Festival 2010)
What do you do when you’re waiting….And waiting….AND WAITING….

At Gate B23 (written and directed by Debbie Slevin) we watch as 7 people try to figure out what to do when they are forced to look more deeply into their lives – because this time they’re not allowed to just gloss over all the situations as they normally would. The escalating tension turns to transformation again and again, as being forced to actually talk with those you’re with pushes everyone to make decisions they never would have otherwise. Whether new bonds are forged, burst asunder or reinforced to stay the same, the play is always moving along as it focuses on the different people who are waiting – so it’s really like several small plays wrapped into one.

Before the play begins we are swept into the mood by many fun, introspective traveling songs like Leaving, on a Jet Plane and I’ll Fly Away. The scenery is a perfect representation of what you see when you go to an airport: chairs and a small table at an airport bar on the side. Thanks to Crystal Johnson the stage manager for really putting us in the midst of it all.

Awkwardness abounds at Gate B23
Our story begins as Heather Gilbert (as the Gate Agent) makes the announcement that Flight 7051: Palm Beach to Newark is DELAYED (along with many other funny little announcements of various things the passengers should not do). Meanwhile, a Teen-aged Girl (Gina Marie Jamieson) rebels against her terrible ordeal of being bored in the airport by gossiping on the phone the entire time with and about her best friend.

Lilah (Jody Lyn Flynn) is a middle-aged divorcee who on her way back “home” to New Jersey after 10 years of self-imposed exile. She is found by Zach (Scott Morse) an irrepressible twenty-something year old who is certain that Lilah is the one for him. He’s just charming enough he might just pull it off getting her to love him back before the flight takes off. As the plane keeps getting delayed further, his changes look better and better.

Bertha, played by Sue-Ellen Mandell, is a rascally old lady who has had several husbands and many quirky adventures over the years in her home in New Jersey. Her daughter Lotte, is unfortunately the only one who’s still willing to help care for her as Bertha’s memories are slipping away and muddling together as her continuity of existence is disappearing. Lotte is taking her mother back home to New Jersey because they just can’t afford to let her live in her Florida retirement community anymore. This tragic situation replays itself over and over again as Lotte keeps having to remind her mother in bits and pieces of what is going on and what has been going on for years.

Finally we’re introduced to Walter and Travis, played by Bill Fitzburg and Alex Adams respectively. Walter is Travis’ stepfather and is there to bring Travis back home to a mother who (it is alluded to) is gravely ill. Travis seems to be at first to be a sullen ornery teenager just trying to run away from home, but we find out a number of causes of his estrangement from his stepfather and home as the play progresses.

The moral of the story is that you never know who is waiting with you in the airport. Prepared to be surprised and deeply touched by the powerful twists that weave through this play. Thanks to writer/director Debbie Slevin for creating such a provocative play about what happens when we’re forced to pay attention to our lives. And for working with the cast to really make this such a tightly performed and and emotionally charged play.

Gate B23

Writer: Debbie Slevin
Director: Debbie Slevin
1h 5m
web.me.com/greyslev/GreyMatters_Productions/GATE_B23_FringeNYC_2010.html
VENUE #8: Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory