Joe as he appeared in "Felony Friday" August 20 - Sept 26, 2011
Joe Wissler and John Amos
"Felony Friday" (Venue #7) at the Connelly Theater on East 4th Street, between Ave. A and Ave. B; if it's hell it must be "Felony Friday" as we watch a mixed lot of misfitters wrangling over their questionable deeds - some of them rather bloody-deadly, in a kind of prison/twilight zone-ish waiting room - SOMEWHERE in the arms of dear old Manhattan! Is it Hell, ala No-Exit style? (Sartre said that Hell "is other people"). Or is it a subtle hint of Alighieri's industry at work? But no matter; this is really a very busy 120 minutes (thank God) with intermission included, of soul searching for the baddies of contemporary society, with nasty naughties caught up in feverish threats and guilt ridden pasts as a sort of reminder-of-revenge angel, mystically known as "Jack" (fine actor and playwright Scott Decker) comes along well after the action between various score checkers and settlers has taken off. The story largely centers on a gruesome interaction between crime boss "Paul" (expertly done by Joe Wissler) and Jack. It turns out that the 2 know each other for very violent reasons, and the colorful exchange that ensues demonstrates that there is much unfolding to be done. "Felony Friday" is chock full of humorous moments - as you will see, if you get to see this play. Playwright Decker has a lot to say, and that's worth something. I just think that some parts of the story could have been perhaps a little more clear. The overall experience, however, is rather sobering. The entire cast, handily and neatly directed by Rebecca Yarsin, deserve mention for making us pay attention: veteran and wonderful actor John Amos as the philosophical "BB1", Libby Winters as a unique "Nurse", along with Marc Sinoway as the hyper-active, unfulfilled "Tommy". Deserving equal appreciation, also, are the actors Marc Goldberg, Claudia Godi, Christopher Dickerson, Mateo Prendergast, and Jamie Lincoln Smith. Together, this ensemble made the entire ensemble work. The effective lighting design and set design credits go to Jay Woods and Chris Dickerson, respectively.