All That I Will Ever Be, A CurtainUp Online Theater Magazine Off-Off Broadway review, CurtainUp

The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings






Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us

A CurtainUp Review
All That I Will Ever B

The world will be a much better place once we're gone— Omar, commenting on the uselessness of the human species.

But what about art, and music, and, and. . .— Dwight.

The world doesn't need any of that—Omar.

Well what about love, and generosity. . .—Dwight.

We're the only ones who need that. And we're just one tiny stupid, pathetic race of idiots who fear and despise all the other idiots who aren't exactly like us.—Omar.

Austin Lysy and Peter Macdissi in All That I'll Ever Be
Austin Lysy and Peter Macdissi in All That I'll Ever Be
(Photo: Joan Marcus)
This new play about a dysfunctional (to put it mildly!) Los Angeles native and an immigrant of vaguely Mid-Eastern origin who operates under multiple identies has been anticipated with considerable interest. That's because it brings Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball back to the stage. It also features Peter Macdissian from Ball's TV hit as the Mid-Eastern stud. Like his Six Feet Under character, Olivier Castro Stahl, Macdissi's Omar is a bi-sexual but instead of working as an art teacher he's an electronics salesman in a Best Buys type of store who double dips as a hustler by night (his clientele solicited via an Internet come-ons posted under various exotic Mid-Eastern names). It's as "Farouk the Arabian Stallion" that Omar hooks up with Dwight (Austin Lysy who doesn't match Macdissi's rippling pecs, but is a stronger actor), a drugged out gay post GenerationX slacker who is still living off money supplied by his despised plastic surgeon father (Victor Slezak).

As Ball has demonstrated with his hit TV series and the film American Beauty, he has a way with dialogue. He's also a sharp marksman when it comes to slinging arrows at America's uninspiring cultural landscape. The trouble here is that, sharp and stinging as Ball's dialogue is, there's too much of it. What's more, his arrows aimed at our intimacy-challenged, vacuous culture lands on a dartboard already covered with holes left by other playwrights (most recently by Douglas Carter Beane in the soon-to-close The Little Dog Laughed, which also involved a yearnful hustler and one of his internet customers).

Jo Bonney, a director known for her savvy handling of trendy modern plays, sees to it that Omar and Dwight's Internet spawned relationship heads towards its inevitable crash with enough snap and crackle to feel edgy with meaningful insights into sexual, cultural and ractial attitudes even though it fails to deliver on all three counts. Neil Patel's sleek sliding panel set design handily accommodate the numerous scenes between Omar and Dwight and various similarly emotionally guarded characters: The opening scene where Omar in his day job setting delivers a motor-mouthed sales pitch for the latest in electronic gimmickry to a stone-faced customer (Patch Darragh in the first of four expertly differentiated roles). . .a bar where Omar gets acquainted with a woman picked up during another sales pitch (Kandiss Edmundson, way too shrill as a wannabe movie mogul, and not noticeably better in another swing role). . . Dwight's apartment where the sexual favors negotiated over the internet are being delivered. . .a father (Victor Slezak in an aptly understated performance) and son lunch scene in an expensive restaurant making it clear that there's no way these knotty family ties can ever be unknotted.

The scene switching also includes a Hollywood party in which Victor Slezak as a movie mogul initially so much like Dwight's father that the role switch is a bit confusing. Then there are the play's most genuine and disappointing hustler-client encounters. The first, and the play's most memorable, takes us to a post-coital conversation between Omar and Raymond, an older man who finally guesses Omar's real identity. David Margulies handily walks away with the play's acting honors and exits with its best line when he , responds to Omar's offer to stay the night without further payment with "Sweetheart, people don't pay your kind for sex. They pay you to leave." Unfortunately, another scene with a younger and very vulnerable client (the chameleon Patch Darragh again) makes Omar seem less like a needy seeker of human connection than a guy whose erratic behavior undercuts our sympathy for him.

Here's hoping that Alan Ball will continue to find time to write for the stage — but when he does so to go beyond quick bursts of wit to develop characters and conversations that really stick to the mind and heart.

By Alan Ball
Directed by Jo Bonney.
Cast: Patch Darragh (White Guy/ Bart/Eddie/ Waiter), Kandiss Edmundson (Cynthia/Beth),, Austin Lysy (Dwight), Peter Macdissi (Omar), David Margulies (Raymond),Victor Slezak (Chuck Bennett/Phil).
Sets: Neil Patel
Costumes: Emilio Sosa;
Lights: David Lander
Sound: Darron L. West
Fight Choreography: J. Steven White:
Running Time: 2 hours plus an intermission
NY Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue,212/239-6200.
From 1/17/07 to 3/11/07; opening 2/06/07.
Tuesday at 7:00pm; Wednesday to Friday at 8:00pm; Saturday at 3:00pm and 8:00pm; Sunday at 2:00pm and 7:00pm.
Tickets: $60, CheapTix $20 Sunday nights
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer at 2/06 press preview
broadway musicals: the 101 greatest shows of all time
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.

Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide

At This Theater Cover
At This Theater

Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide

The Broadway Theatre Archive>


©Copyright 2007, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from