Itamar Moses’ Whistleblower begins deceptively with a scene straight out of an Entourage-esque Hollywood drama.
A screenwriter and his agent are trying to sell studio execs on a new show cleverly meta-dramatically titled The Whistleblower. Directed by Jeremy Wexler and starring an excellent ensemble of Theatre-Her Wit, this drama alternates between crackling and baffling and is meant to be more than just a self-referential sitcom.
At the center of the piece is Eli (Ben Fagus), a pitch meeting writer who abruptly walks away from his dream of an offer, leaving agent Dan (William Anthony Sebastian Rhodes II) and studio executive It surprised and alarmed Richard (Michael Kostrow). , together with all other professional obligations that he incurs.
Eli insists that his priority is the quest for “truth,” not significantly different from the plots of his shows. To find out this truth, we must return to the San Francisco Bay Area and look back at his past.
Wexler’s mostly double- and triple-cast ensembles are based on an occasionally offbeat script in which various loved and former loved ones respond to Eli’s uninvited liquidation demands.
The episodic plot begins with Dan and Rich laughing, clapping hands, and talking about contracts and story processing for Eli’s next project, providing a series of rich encounters. Fagus, seated on a couch some distance away from them, skillfully and quietly demonstrates Eli’s sudden and revelatory mood swings. You can hear him muttering that he suddenly seems to collapse and eventually changes his mind. he has to go home
After stunning, infuriating, and worrying his co-worker and live-in girlfriend Alison (the terrifyingly comical Julia Alvarez), Eli goes to his parents Hannah (RjW Mays) and Joseph (Kostrow). drive all night for In one morbid and humorous scene, she calmly watches as Eli is interrogated and her parents argue loudly about whether she is manic.
The humor gets even spicier when Eli visits his sister Rebecca (Ray Gray) and is told that tackling the truth comes with an ultimatum. If she doesn’t act first, she’s going to tell Hannah and Joe she’s a meth dealer with her violent partner.
Central to Eli’s journey is his reunion with Eleanor (Gray). Eleanor didn’t say anything 13 years ago, she left without warning, and she hasn’t been heard from since. She finds Eli waiting by the can as Eleanor takes out the trash. He won’t be dismissed so easily.
Eli also meets Max, the hilariously hollow and intermittently profound Andrew Jessop. Max is clearly a drug-addicted artist, and his dubious flair—there is absolutely nothing that any artist can create—is surreal and comical at its peak.
The ensemble doesn’t go awry as they travel Eli’s devastating road to enlightenment. Phaegus’ Eli is cipher to the end, a nuance shrouded in mystery.
As agent Dan, Rose radiates an unmistakable blend of integrity, arrogance, and charisma, opening doors, executing scripts, and valuing integrity. Eli’s childhood friend Jed and double-cast Rose pick up the humor and pathos of a man who’s crossing the line between his friend and his pregnant and understandably furious wife, Lisa (Julia Alvarez, as well as his girlfriend Allison). Acting scene thief) Abandoned in LA)
Eleanor of Gray is very believable. Her initial wordless reaction to Eli’s appearance is a mixture of anger, fear, and disbelief that reads like a book without words. Eleanor has a grace that stands in stark contrast to her third character, the whimsical Rebecca and Gray, who have undergone a surprising evolution of her own studio and her assistant.
Kostrov’s Richard embodies many of the common clichés of Hollywood executives—smug, slightly cocky, and self-imposing—without creating stereotypes. As Eli’s father Joseph, he revolves from grinning mogul to spewing discontent on Mount Vesuvius. Mays’ marital sparring with Hannah (boiling the stage with a white-hot rage of monologues about male destitution) is as brutal as anything Edward Albee has ever made.
Brian Redfern’s sets effectively move between locales via sliding walls that often look like abstract paintings, a structure that represents the ephemeral nature of art and its subtle ubiquity in our lives. hat.
Johann Gallardo’s outfits are also spot on, from Dan’s stunning mandarin orange suit to Eleanor’s worn-out sweatpants.