nytheatre.com review by Derak T. Bell
Writer/director Roberto Marinas' Downsized is funny, moving, and
ultimately unsatisfying. It’s set in the office of CEO "Teddy" Canton
(Michael Todd Wynn), to which two competitive young execs, Denny Cobb
(Derek Straat) and Candice Ashley Walden (Cynthia Segura), have been
called at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. They fear they are about to be
fired. But Teddy has other things in mind, an extended, alcohol-fueled
bonding ritual in which the three of them will "really talk." In a
series of seven scenes linked by blackouts and a series of radio news
broadcasts we follow them through an alternately hilarious and
disturbing dark night of the soul.
August 15, 2002
Initially playful in his lunacy, Wynn’s Teddy has the makings of a fine comic creation, repetitively glad-handing his protgis, barricading his office in a mountain of pizza boxes and going toe to toe with Denny in a contest to see who can name the most porn sites. But the hijinks give way to the despondency of a man who has lost his humanity. Derek Straat is well cast as Denny, his arrogant prettiness and hyena grin making it clear that he’ll do anything to advance himself. It is only when he makes unnecessary takes to the audience and cartoonishly shifts his eyes that he loses focus. Cynthia Segura’s Candice, though tight-bodied and driven, seems to be the least defined of the three, disappearing into the role of scowling referee as the play progresses.
In the end Teddy tells the execs that his desk is cold, but his hand is warm, and if he presses his palm onto the desk, it leaves a perfect impression. As the moisture recedes he hears nothing. It’s the only calm he gets. It is a clear poetic moment, and the closest I came to caring about these people. Shortly thereafter he pulls himself together, introduces himself to Denny and Candice yet again, and walks out the door to the strains of Pink Floyd’s "Money," leaving me with the feeling that I had made a long journey just to get back to where I began.