Theater Review: ‘Party Line’ – Your Corona Life is Calling

8 Nights. 8 Phone Calls. 8 p.m.

By Jonathan Spira on 21 March 2021
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Every night from March 8 through March 15, my telephone rang at precisely 8 p.m. The line crackled, and there were sounds of electromechanical switching and MF or multi-frequency tone signaling. An intercept message played:  “You have reached a number that has been disconnected or no longer in service.”  Suddenly, there was a lone still voice: “Everything is bothering me,” Sophie (Ellen Walz) tells someone, Megan (Chris Padro) as  we learn it was later on.

“We are apparently all on a rogue party line,” says an official sounding voice who announces himself as (Senator Chuck) Schumer (Trevor Vaughan).  And indeed it is in the rather aptly named serial play, “Party Line,” which is the name of Scott Adkins’ poignantly hysterical play that is delivered to theater goers (telephone goers?) in eight segments over eight consecutive evenings.

Over the eight-day period, we begin to learn about Sophie’s challenges with the pandemic, with going outdoors, her dislike of noise (accelerating cars: “Why do they have to drive so fast?” she wonders).

When I answered the call, I never knew who would be on the line.  This is robo-call theater at its best.

One night it was Sophie’s grandmother (Sara Meade)  who somehow got connected to Senator Schumer’s private line, much to the chagrin of his secretary.  She offers to help him in the challenges he faces and he accepts.

“What is going on here… it reminds me of a party line,” muses one of the characters.

“Party Line” uses the connections on a telephone as a metaphor for our connections with others.  Indeed, Sophie tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together:  “I know Megan from school, I know my therapist from therapy, I know Brett (Izabella Hamboussi) from the dishwasher,… George (Peter Moriarty) from Zoom phone banks, Grandma is mom’s mom… I thought I was the connection, but I don’t know Senator Schumer,” she laments.

“Grandma?

“Hello?

“Anyone there?

“I’m still here in my apartment, sitting on my couch, talking to no one…

“HELLO?”

THE DETAILS

Party Line
Limited Engagement – April 6 to 13
Let’s Make a Theatre Company
www.posttheatrical.org

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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