There isn’t much to be learned about life or love in “The Flick,” Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play that started its Piccolo Spoleto run Friday at Threshold Repertory Theatre. There is no moral to this story. Much like the movie theater floor that the characters perpetually clean, life is messy.
The play follows three underpaid ushers working at a single-screen movie theater in Worcester County, Mass. Sam (Kody Roza) is the veteran employee who shows the newly hired Avery (Maurice McPherson) the ropes. Rose (Kate Tooley) is the rough-around-the-edges projectionist. As the play progresses the characters slowly open up to one another, building a camaraderie that is necessary to make it through a crappy, minimum-wage job.
The acting is strong throughout. It took Tooley a little while to settle into her character during Friday’s performance, but she really hit her stride during the second act. The play is truly intended for an ensemble, and the cast is at their best during scenes in which they are all together.
Baker’s script is intricate and unapologetically honest. The pacing is meant to be slow and awkward, like it would be in real life. In fact, the original production at Playwright’s Horizon in New York City had a running time of three hours. Full minutes went by as characters silently swept the theater floor.
Mark Gorman, the director of the Threshold Rep production, understandably did not take that approach. The show has been cut down to a more manageable two hours. Speeding up the pacing is a practical choice, but one that also causes scenes to feel rushed at times. Some nice moments are stepped on by hasty transitions.
Despite some minor glitches, this is a well-done production of a cerebral, poignant play. “The Flick” may not spur any moral quandaries, but it does show that there is beauty in the mundane. The final show is 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at www.piccolospoleto.com.
Haley Chouinard is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.