Bock, Beck hit `Drunken City’

The arrival of a new Adam Bock play is always an event.

Even though the Canadian playwright decided to forgo the pleasures of life in the Bay Area for the rigors of a New York writer’s existence, we still love him. And as long as he sends us a play every now and then (like The Shaker Chair, a Shotgun Players/Encore Theatre Company production from last year), we’re happy.

Last week, Bock’s latest, The Drunken City, opened at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater in New York. Christopher Isherwood, writing in the New York Times, called it a “flimsy but sweet comedy” but generally liked the tale of a bride-to-be and her three bridesmaids out on the town just before the wedding, drinking quite a lot, fraternizing with men who aren’t their husbands or fiances and coming to some realizations about love and marriage.

The production marks the New York debut of Cassie Beck (above), a uniquely charming Bay Area actress who, with her husband, Kent Nicholson, is co-artistic director of Crowded Fire Theatre Company. Isherwood had this to say about Beck, who plays Marnie, the bride-to-be: “Ms. Beck, making her New York debut, brings an understated sweetness to her role as Marnie, whose inebriation gradually subsides as she discloses the real dissatisfaction fueling the evening’s folly.”

Also in the cast are Maria Dizzia, who was so devastatingly good as the title character of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Barrett Foa, who did his best to charm in the disco drudgery of TheatreWorks’ world-premiere musical Kept.

Writing in the New York Daily News, Joe Dziemianowicz called Bock’s play “a playful and hopeful comedy in which everybody’s tipsy and everyone’s shaken and stirred after one long, liquor-filled night.” He has this to say about our local star: “Beck, in her New York debut, is fantastic and turns the moment into something deeply touching. Her five castmates are as equally appealing, adorable and top-shelf.”

All good news. So when’s our next Adam Bock play? We have yet to see The Receptionist or The Thugs in these parts, and it sounds like The Drunken City, complete with Beck in the lead, was just made for San Francisco.

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