Ticket To Eternity
nytheatre.com review by Ryan Emmons
August 19, 2012
What if that aspiring actor you know and admire for pursuing his/her dreams is actually happiest waiting tables? Ticket 2 Eternity flips around the day-job cliché so that waiting tables is a spiritual calling for the main character, Dan, who is played by Laris Macario. Dan’s pursuit of fame and acting glory is merely his halfway attempt to keep at bay his family and friends around him who somewhat desperately desire his fame. From debt to the emptiness that they feel for having not pursued their own dreams, everyone has their reasons for Dan needing to be famous. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but this absurdist comedy is a savory morsel that serves up plenty of food for thought.
Matthew Ethan Davis (playwright) has written a play that is commendably theatrical and uses all of the most fun conventions of theatre to tell a story. Dan’s memories come in and out, characters transform into other characters, and the world, though absurd, is specific. The play begins with a reporter character (Jay Riveria) who is interviewing Dan for a front page cover story. The reporter exists outside of the style that the rest of the play is in, and I found the transitions into and out of his scenes one of the biggest challenges for Ticket 2 Eternity. It sometimes felt like watching two different plays on parallel tracks; however, that did not seem to be the intention.
Adyana de la Torre plays Dan’s mother, and the other female influences in his life, and brings in energy and skill to each scene she is in. She sings, dances and acts with the ability to tell a story clearly, even when the ingredients of that story are unrealistic and dreamlike. Brendan Wahlers plays opposite Torre as Dan’s father. One of the highlights of the play for me was a scene between the father and Dan where the father is losing his soul because he has lost his dreams.
The direction of the play is by Javier Perez-Karam who effectively portrays Dan’s obsession with serving food by having all of the props as kitchenware. He also connects the people in Dan’s life in a way that suggests that they are all the same – although distinct characters, they all push him towards fame and they all take advantage or abuse him to make their point. There is never any question for Dan or the audience – his passion (even on a sexual level) is for serving people food. Why Dan feels connected or indebted to the people in his life is unclear – why doesn’t he just find a Denny’s and move on?
The show moves at a good pace and there are moments of some wonderful physical comedy including a bit with Torre and a café table that made me laugh, and then feel a little dirty that I had witnessed it – but this is FringeNYC, you won’t see that sort of thing anywhere else! Ticket 2 Eternity brings up some great questions about purpose, spirituality, sexuality and how best to be true to yourself. Are you living the life you want for you, or the life that others are hoping for you? If that sounds like a menu that will satisfy your theatrical appetite then get your ticket now.