In This Play, Her Boyfriend Dumps Her. Should She Find Love, or Herself?
Posted February 6, 2018 12:03 a.m. EST
NEW YORK — In the first scene of Steph Del Rosso’s hectic comedy “Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill” at the Flea Theater, rock god Noah drags his girlfriend Joni onstage in the middle of a concert and tells her that he wants to see other people.
“Why are we doing this here?” Joni wails.
“Because I wanted it to feel special,” he says.
A discombobulated Joni (a plucky Sarah Chalfie) leaves the venue and is immediately surrounded by friends and well-meaning strangers. They tell her to take up acupuncture and give up dairy, to put herself out there and take time to heal.
Joni’s body feels full of holes. Urged on by the imperative of the title, she bombards a waiter with existential questions; she invites a couple home for a threesome; she catches up with a college friend; and she appears on a game show designed to empower women.
Maybe she’s trying to find herself, maybe she’s trying to lose herself, maybe’s she’s just trying to shamble from one heart-shattered day to the next.
How special does “Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill” feel? As a story of self-empowerment and a satire of self-care, it’s not especially wise and new. The production, directed by Marina McClure in the Flea’s shallow downstairs space, looks chintzy and the young cast can’t always handle the tonal variations that the writing demands.
It might be worth meeting those demands. Del Rosso’s dialogue is sometimes self-conscious and sometimes undisciplined, but there’s enough breakneck banter and frisky wordplay to recall the sad-happy style of the playwrights Melissa James Gibson and Jenny Schwartz.
By the end, Del Rosso has traded telling for showing and here’s what “Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill” has to say: You should probably figure out who you are before you get involved with anyone else.
As advice goes, it’s not special. But it’s solid all the same.
“Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill Fill”
Through Feb. 25 at the Flea, Manhattan; 866-811-4111, theflea.org. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.