Sunday, October 16, 2016

LIKE I SAY, a script in search of a purpose @ convergence-continuum

Len Jenkin, the author of LIKE I SAY, which he refers to as  a "sober-minded comedy," is the recipient of three Obie Awards and received an Emmy nomination.

He explains that LIKE I SAY is "a Candide type of tale.  A journey through darkness, through failure, disease and death to a kind of hope. A survivor’s hope."

Unfortunately, Jenkin’s explanation is easier for him to say than the abstract script is to display.

The play, which has stories overlaid onto stories, is often hard to follow and is excessively long.  It is a tale, oft told by a dreamer, in which the dreams “turn nightmarish and heavenly.” 

The tale basically takes place in the Hotel Splendide, a once grand hotel situated on the American coast.  It is now a barely habitable wreck, walls covered in a so-called artist’s stick figures related to Día de Muertos (the day of the dead). 

Assembled are  Helena Skate (Lauren B. Smith), the inn keeper, and her helper, “Little Junior” (August Scapelli).  In occupancy are Isaiah Sandoval (Logan Smith), a once prolific writer who is in a state of depression as a result of his wife and child having been killed in a car crash for which he was responsible.  His “nurse,” Rose (Linda Sekanic) tries to keep him on his meds, while chaos spins around them.

Also present is Mr. Schwarzberg (Robert Hawkes) an alcoholic painter and tattoo artist and Leon Vole (Clyde Simon) and Tanya Vole (Marcia Mandell), down and out puppeteers, who have falsely been told that Sandoval has a suitcase filled with money.

In his delusional states Sandoval tells tales about Coconut Joe (Robert Branch) who is looking for the perfect consignment of coconuts for the biscuit factory for which he works.  The search takes him to Berlin, where he is betrayed by a woman.  He winds up as a prisoner in a nuclear waste plant, escapes, goes to Venice, boards a ship which sinks after being attacked by pirates and survives on a life raft.  Also on the flotation device is a Pirate Queen.  They are washed ashore at a resort for those who are kept young and alive by injections of lemur blood.

And…well, to be honest, who cares.  This excessive babble makes little sense and who cares about these people and what happens to them.

The con-con production, under the direction of Tyson Douglas Rand does what it can with a script.  The casts’ performances are erratic, but one can conjecture that it is the fault of the script.

Capsule Judgement:  LIKE I SAY is an overly long, irrational script.  One can only wonder why it was chosen by the theatre to perform and why a group of actors and a director would want to spend their precious time in producing it.  Con-con has performed some excellent works.  This isn’t one of them.
LIKE I SAY runs through November 5, 2016 at 8 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at convergence-continuum’s artistic home, The Liminis, at 2438 Scranton Rd. in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.  For information and reservations call 216-687-0074 or go to

convergence-continuum’s next show is Robert Hawkes appearing in his self-written script, GIVE ME THE MAP, from November 17-19, 2016, followed by the world premiere of local writer Jonathan Wilhelm’s THE KNIFE IS MONEY, THE FORK IS LOVE.