Gabe McKinley’s dark, yet funny drama Extinction opens at Guild Hall in East Hampton
By: Patrick Christiano
Josh Gladstone, Artistic Director of Guild Hall, helms a strong production of Extinction starring Sawyer Spielberg as Finn and Eric Svendsen as Max. The actors turn in impressive work as two friends at odds with one another in Gabe McKinley’s scorching drama. The story about male bonding is set in adjoining rooms circa 2007 at The Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, where the two long-time college buddies have come to renew their bond, or have they?
Their tale unfolds on an extremely inventive set by Raye Levine, who also plays Victoria. Her expansive, yet intimate recreation of two rooms at the hotel is filled with all sorts of nooks and crannies, where the audience sits on the stage practically immersed in the action like flies on the imaginary walls. The exceptional psychedelic lighting design is by Sebastian Paczynski with cool neon projections by Raye Levine and Joe Brondo.
The two men at the center of McKinley’s drama spent most of their collegiate time together running around Manhattan trying to score with as many girls as possible. That’s score, literally, as in single women were three points, married women, five and the first to 10 points wins. Since last seeing each other the men have taken completely different paths in life, and each comes to their meeting with a different agenda. The result is an engaging conflict that examines the evolution of friendship through the eyes of these two young men.
The show title from Max’s thesis “that humans must bang everything that moves or risk extinction” illuminates how he justifies his coarse behavior. Finn disagrees, reminding him women are people too, and that we’re more than just animals.
When secrets are revealed and harsh words exchanged, Max explodes leaving with Finn’s cell phone, only to return later with two women he believes are prostitutes, Missy and Victoria nicely played by Brynne Kraynak and Raye Levine respectively. The women are further catalysts to the tension between the men, and the play escalates with effective dialogue into an explosive conclusion.
General Admission $25 ($23 Members); $15 Students under 18
The John Drew Theater in the Dina Merrill Pavilion at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton, New York 11937, 631.324.0806; GuildHall.org
Thursday March 30 – Sunday April 16, 2017