There’s a revolution happening in the theater. No. It’s neither Lin Manuel’s smash hit twist on our founding fathers. Nor is it the new Roundabout production of 1776. This one, occurring Off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company, is both philosophical and physical.
Gracie Gardner’s I’m Revolting might not be the fastest moving play, but that isn’t the intention. Set in a New York City skin cancer clinic, it chronicles the journey of patients and their loved ones taking their next steps towards improved health. Although it doesn’t sound like it, it is in fact, a comedy.
Gardner is careful to not allow her material to become too dark. It helps that it’s being acted by a top notch cast, including Tony award nominee Gabby Beans as Anna , an intense, type-a personality who is health care proxy to her sister, Reggie (Alicia Pilgrim). Laura Esterman plays a quirky, holistic health evangelist has some wonderful moments, particularly with old school, no nonsense Clyde (Peter Gerety),a regular at the clinic. Patrick Vaill is perfectly deadpan and the rest of the cast brings required gravitas to this dramatic appointment.
Gardner’s commentary on health reflect the complexities of both the human body and of medicine itself. Too often, we excoriate medical professionals when they fall short and fail us. Here, she shows us that they are not beneath volatility and folly. After all, they too are simply human.
Marsha Ginsberg’s metaphorically mirrored waiting room set, on which audience members can see themselves is a literal reflection of our own unpredictable health battles and a bleak but honest confirmation of our own mortality.
I’m Revolting runs through October 16th at the Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th between 9th and 10th). For tickers and information, click here