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Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Mistakes Were Made" @ Artist's Rep

Michael Mendelson's performance in "Mistakes Were Made" is astounding. It would be impressive under normal circumstances, because he is essentially alone on stage nearly all of the play's ninety-minute length, save for a few brief appearances by a secretary, and large puppet of a fish. In those ninety-minutes, Mendelson must not only breathlessly try to please everyone involved in the Broadway-bound play his character is producing , but also to  keep the audience engaged, while most of the other people he interacts with are on the phone. As I've said, all of this is a feat under the best of conditions for any actor. Now consider that Mendelson had to fill in for an unexpectedly absent leading-man. due to a family emergency. This unspecified emergency took place ten days prior to opening-night, and Mendelson only had a week-long postponement in which to prepare. Add all that together and Mendelson should bee awarded a medallion which declares, "World's Greatest Actor" to be worn unashamedly throughout the run. Ok, maybe that's a bit much, but having read the exact time table in the playbill, I was truly shocked it was possible to learn that many lines in so little time.

The play reminded me a little of "Fully Comitted," a play mounted by Portland Center Stage several years ago, which also involved one man on the phone. If you happened to have seen that show, you are likely to enjoy this one. Go anyway to see an actor embark on a test of endurance.    

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