Drama in a Comedy? It’s on the menu in STALLED

Reviewed by Sander Gusinow
John Chatterton’s Midwinter Madness Festival

What begins as a simple sit-in lunch takes a sharp turn towards Looney Toons in Christopher Sirota’s ‘Stalled.’

Two friends sit at restaurant for lunch. One is hell-bent on telling the story of how he had an awkward moment with his boss in the restroom, while the other is much more keen on flirting with the waitress. The bathroom story is somewhat innocuous, and the two friends bicker about just how important the story actually is when contrasted against their real-world hunger. (The diner’s short-handed at rush hour)

Throughout the play, director Jay Michaels inserts highly stylized moments of lively cartoonishness. When the first friend relates the story of the bathroom stall, the play jumps into the style of a Bela Lugosi-esque horror. When the second friend talks to his would-be waitress paramour, the set is bathed with red light, prompting a cigarette-smoking ‘Casablanca’ style romance.

These forays, though certainly entertaining, affectionately highlight the play’s subtle message: We blow up little stories to titanic proportions because we’re all the stars of our own micro movie. In the end, ‘Stalled’ reminds us life can be good, even if truth is blander than fiction.