BONY FISH, Lid Productions, at Bailiwick Repertory. Mary-Terese Cozzola’s debut play follows the arc of a love affair between Liz (Katherine Lee), a soulful young woman in search of herself, and the impulsive Pete (played at the performance I attended by understudy Phil Hendricks), who decides after one week that he’s met his ideal mate. Their relationship elicits the all-too-common quandaries of selecting a life course. Does one follow the gilded path to suburban comfort or seek a road less traveled? Do decades of familiarity breed comfort or contempt? As can be expected, parents, well-meaning friends, and professional counselors are standing by to guide the young lovers.
Bony Fish is an interesting collection of truthful, amusing discussions: men discuss women, women discuss men, parents discuss their children and vice versa. Cozzola demonstrates a wonderful ear for dialogue and the natural humor of family and romantic situations. The cast is equally astute at recognizing (but not overplaying) the irony of each character. But we long for a whole greater than the sum of these parts. The discourse tends to overshadow the play’s action–the central relationship progresses in snapshots sandwiched between chats, which may be thought provoking but don’t provide sufficient insight into character or motivation. By the end, lives and relationships have undergone fairly radical reconstructions–or at least promise to do so. But we’re left feeling that, while much has been discussed, little has happened.