nytheatre.com review by Anthony Nelson
August 15, 2006
Lolita Lacy (Angie Kristic) was on top of her profession as a broadcast journalist, until a scandal destroyed her career, and led her to spend years toiling at the tabloid "Scoop," drinking away the days. As Faded opens, she has discovered a remarkable opportunity. Max, a crusty old man played with glee by John Cannatella, has a photograph to sell her. Although the picture is old and a bit weathered, its subject is unmistakable: Marilyn Monroe performing a sex act on JFK.
It's tabloid gold, but "Scoop" editor Woody (Carlos Molina), who is also Lolita's lover, wants to try to drive down the price. As the paper pursues the photo, Lolita is driven to take solace in drink by the relentless opportunism of her profession, and by the disintegration of her relationship with Woody, who is now showing interest in "'Scoop" intern Evita (Belange Rodriguez). As they get closer to securing the photo, it becomes clear that Max may not be what he seems, and Lolita will have choices to make about what constitutes right and wrong in a business driven by taking advantage of other people's secrets.
A good concept? Sure. Unfortunately, in this listless production, no one in the theatre, including audience and actors, seems to be enjoying themselves. The action in Robert Dominguez's script is not very urgent, and full of small bits of illogic. For example, after Max offers the "Scoop" the photo for a million dollars, they turn him down flat, without even attempting to negotiate. Woody and Lolita then talk about how badly they want the photo. Later, they contact Max and offer him a million dollars for it. Well, why not just buy it in the first place, then, rather than wait and risk losing it?
Under Veronica Caicedo's direction, the cast performs with little energy, and jokes fall flat because the actors don't hit the punch lines. The play seems a little under-rehearsed, as actors struggled for lines or used odd phrasings that seemed like they must have been a mistake, ("Wipe that bloated look off your bourbon-bloated face!") The transitions between scenes are very slow, and do considerable damage to any momentum the play starts to build.
Dominguez would do well to trim some of the subplots, and to cut down on the number of gratuitous sexual assaults. More than one in any play risks taking over the action and loses its shock value. Caicedo should block less of the action at the back of the stage, although the theatre's very deep playing space does not help her in this regard. My companion and I also had completely opposite interpretations of the end, which can sometimes be a good thing, but I think in this case indicates a need to clarify the action. Faded is an interesting concept, but this production needs a lot of work.