Dark comedy by filmmaker/playwright/director/novelist Alan Hruska at NY Center Stage II.
By: Patrick Christiano
There are hard times outside Sir’s mansion in Ring Twice for Miranda, Alan Hruska’s satire on power, but inside the chambermaid Maranda and her former lover, the butler Elliot, are well fed, warm and cozy. Their relationship has recently hit the skids much to Elliot’s chagrin, and as they pass time in the servant’s wing waiting for Sir, who rules the nameless district, to break their tedium, Elliot begs Miranda for access to her bed once more. A massive wall of 24 bells hangs nearby, where one ring is for Elliot and twice is for Miranda. Clearly Miranda performs some special function for Sir, which she insists is non-sexual, nonetheless Elliot is jealous and doesn’t believe her.
When Elliot is discharged by Sir’s right hand man, Gulliver (Daniel Pearce), who tells Elliot his services are no longer needed, Miranda in defiance to Sir leaves with Elliot. The two quickly find themselves frightened on the bleak streets of the district, stranded with their luggage where they eventually meet up with two drug dealing drifters Chester and Anouk (William Connell and Talia Thiesfield), who attempt to take advantage of them. Finally, a plumber/handyman Felix (Ian Lassiter) comes to their rescue. At Sir’s bidding, he has come for Miranda, who refuses to return without Elliot. Once back at Sir’s comfortable estate, the outraged pair find Chester and Anouk have usurped their positions, and Miranda must confront Sir to be reinstated with Elliot to their previous status.
The melodramatic farce plays out like a chess match between Sir and Miranda, where nothing is quite as it seems and everyone is a pawn to their emotional whims. The plot feels awkward and contrived, yet retains an element of intrigue especially regarding what exactly Miranda does for Sir.
Rich Lombardo’s direction is serviceable considering the plot contrivances and the underdeveloped characters. The acting unfortunately is stylishly uneven. William Connell and Thalia Thiesfield are strident, and their larger than life performances feel like they belong in a different play. Katie Kleiger as Miranda and Graeme Malcolm as Sir, the two at the center of the story, come off best and their scenes near the end of the play are nicely played.
I think Ring Twice for Miranda wants to be an amusing commentary on our current state of political affairs, especially with regard to greed and privilege, but the hastily cobbled together satire fails to fully satisfy that goal.
Ring Twice For Miranda **1/2
New York City Center
131 West 55th Street (Between 6th & 7th Avenues)
For Tickets 212 581-1212 Ring Twice for Miranda – New York City Center Jan 24 – April 16, 2017
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays @ 7:30PM
Wednesdays @ 2:30PM & 7:30PM
Saturdays @ 2:30PM & 7:30PM
Sundays @ 2:30PM
Photography: Russ Rowland