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Little Black Lies

Playwright Steve Stajich’s tenuously directed and underproduced pair of one-acts respectively explores iniquities within the medical profession and the insurance business. In “The Ointment,” directed by Jane Taini, a dermatologist (Frank Noon) who’s been bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical companies, struggles with his conscience when a company rep (John Malone) pushes him to promote a largely untested product. Noon is quirky and interesting as the conflicted doctor coming up against Malone’s unabashedly Mephistophelean sales guy. But the play soon veers off track with the introduction of a shrilly neurotic patient (played without much calibration by Daisy Mullen) whose angry vengeance furnishes the climax to an increasingly surreal and meandering plot. In “Analog,” directed by Katherine James, the office staff at an insurance firm becomes discombobulated when their software is recalibrated and the technician discovers shocking material one of them has stored on the system. Much of the dialogue deals with the petty rivalries and resentments among the group. However, notwithstanding some interesting passages — true of both plays, actually — there’s little depth to the characters, and the story stirs up much ado about nothing. (That may be because the piece was written in one week as a companion piece to the first.) The standard of performance varies; Paul Tigue as the office nerd and Trevor Anthony as a guy into porno establish the most definitive personas.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 19. Continues through Oct. 19, 2008

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