A ragtag sales staff’s attempts to convince would-be buyers to take a chance on the proverbial “deal of a lifetime” add up to a series of wild-and-wacky Act One vignettes till a pre-intermission plot twist sends Steve B. Green’s World Premiere comedy Timeshare into darker, somewhat less successful territory.
Team newbie Tom (Tony Pauletto) still has a ways to go before achieving the sales rate of his colleagues Jack, Christine, and Mike (Kerr Lordygan, Sarmarie Klein, and Travis Quentin), who’ve become experts in persuading customers that yes, they may have come in just for the free 42-inch flat screen being offered to anyone willing to listen to a 75-minute spiel, but what they really want is to buy into a timeshare from heaven, one that will allow them to vacation round the world “for the cost of a Motel 6.”
Under the ever watchful eye of sell-or-else company boss Frank (last-minute understudy Green), Tom and his coworkers find varying degrees of success when pitching to:
• Martin and Maria (Gerard Marzilli and understudy Amanda James), who instruct Tom in no uncertain terms to “pack up your little book and get us our free gift because we ain’t buyin’.”
• Ira and Melanie (David Pinion and understudy Randi Tahara), whose ears perk up when Tom informs them (despite strict orders from Frank) that they’ve got three days to cancel … and guess what they end up doing.
• Infant-toting single mother Tiffany (Alyssa LeBlanc), who might just be willing to sign on the dotted line … but only if she can put it on her Visa.
• Rapper wannabe (Zachary Reeve Davidson), whose tough-cookie girlfriend Amy (Madelyne Heyman) would like to go somewhere other than Atlantic City “on a fuckin’ bus trip … with your mother.”
• Neil and Gretchen (Paul Messinger and Marbry Steward), whose constant squabbling reveals not only cracks in their eight-year marriage but (perhaps more significantly) an emotionally unstable Neil.
As the Timeshare team attempt to work their sales magic on all of the above, married-but-separated Tom finds himself in competition with self-proclaimed player Jack and muscular palooka Mike for the attentions of sassy, shapely Jersey girl Christine.
Then, in a surprise development (though a required gunshot warning notice in the lobby does somewhat spill the beans), Timeshare becomes virtually another play, one whose mix of reality and jokes worked less well for this reviewer even as the laughs do indeed keep coming.
Despite its exaggerated characters, Green’s script has the ring of someone who’s “been there, done that” and of someone who understands and sympathizes with his characters’ reasons for opting for the proverbial “job from hell.” (Tom found out about his job through Craigslist.)
As director, Green maintains a swift pace despite Timeshare’s numerous blackouts, and his high-energy cast of fourteen deliver the comedic goods, mostly in broad strokes.
Scenic designer Marco De Leon gives Timeshare an appropriately flashy office setting, aided by Victoria Yvonne Martinez’s nifty props. (De Leon’s fold-out restroom is a clever touch.) Yancey Dunham’s lighting design adds a professional sheen throughout. Costumes suit each character quite nicely, though would Christine really wear the same outfit to work every day? Maureen L. O’Connell (music compilation) and Edwin Strauss (music/sound editing) complete the design team.
Timeshare is produced by Green and Rochelle Perry. MZ Runyan is stage manager.
Though you probably won’t be seeing Timeshare on or off Broadway any time soon, there are considerably less entertaining ways to spend a weekend evening or matinee than with Steve B. Green’s eclectic cast of characters at Valley Village’s coincidentally named Eclectic Company Theatre.
The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Valley Village.
January 10, 2106
Photos: Steve B. Green