GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – “Cornered” skips along playfully as a couple banters about a situation: The wife has painted herself into a corner in a room in their house. The two josh and tease and chatter.
Is that all there is?
The room includes a blank wall, a blank floor, a doorway with an open door, a can of paint, a paint brush, a stool and the two characters.
Action lasts 18-ish minutes.
The paint dries, and the play ends.
Is that all there is?
Well, yes – on the surface, though the players don’t let on there’s more. They play things straight.
The experienced team of Katie Schroeder, as She, and Eric D. Westphal, as He, collude with director Sandy Zochert to portray the characters as a hunky-dory, sweetie-pie, red-blooded duo laughing things off about the painted-in-a-corner situation and their separate takes on life.
The conversation is so sweet and filled with kidding – and play-acting of types (cowboy, detective) by the husband – that things seem to glide by innocently.
Along the way are little “dings!” – like chat about a woman at the office being scolded for the brevity of what she wore.
More such “dings!” pass casually between She and He.
Katie Schroeder and Eric D. Westphal play their people as ’50s/’60s TV-style saccharine, when it was okay to make cracks about “women drivers,” as in “Cornered.”
Introduced in the 1960s, the play is from Robert Patrick, who I think is probably skilled at facades. He is famous in New York City gay theater, though “Cornered” is on a mainstream track.
The depth of subtlety – even the title says more than it seems to say – comes from Robert Patrick having written more than 60 plays. He knows what he’s doing.
Creative: Playwright – Robert Patrick; director – Sandy Zochert
She – Katie Schroeder
He – Eric D. Westphal
Remaining performances, viewing free, with donations appreciated: Jan. 22-24 at Broadway on Demand, with talkback Jan. 28 with the actors and director
The production is part of online offerings of Green Bay Community Theater as it maintains a presence. Because of COVID-19, the troupe put its entire 2020-2021 live, in-person season on hold.
Virtual performances are sometimes difficult to decipher. This one seems to use three cameras, has the players (not masked but at a distance) in the same space, though the audio is of different texture for each, and virtual-hazy.
Key are the verbal games. Sly, so sly.
Next, virtual: “With This Ring” by Kimberly Barger in February.