B Street Theatre’s ‘Collapse’ hits all the emotions

If you are thinking about seeing B Street Theatre’s “Collapse” this summer, have high expectations. Within the first 10 minutes on opening night Sunday, the audience was already in an uproar of laughter.

The play takes place around February 2009 and opens with an extremely comical scene between Hannah and David, a married couple trying to have their first child. Though Hannah is the one who is lying over her husband’s lap about to have a hormone shot injected into her left butt cheek, she is the one pep-talking an uneasy and uptight David.

Their relationship becomes more and more strained and hilarious as Hannah’s off-the-wall sister, Susan, unexpectedly stops in for a long-term stay without permission. There are all sorts of side stories inside the main plot as well. For example, insecure and passionate David suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was in the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse a year and a half before the play’s start, and he hasn’t been to work in a month. He also suffers from ulcers, but still attempts to be an alcoholic, dumping many of his beers into the living room plant, unbeknownst to his wife.

Then, of course, there is Susan, the loose cannon with great one-liners, losing her job and apartment and agreeing to deliver an unmarked package from her psychic to some character named “Bulldog” in exchange for a plane ticket to Minneapolis, Minnesota to her sister’s house.

Hannah is a classic control freak, though she is extremely lovable. She spends the whole play taking care of everyone else and does not realize until the end how to let things go. She is also still recovering from a miscarriage that had happened a week after the bridge collapse, and she has a deep, burning desire to start a family.

In her search for some peace in her chaotic life she meets Ted, a charming sex addict, while standing outside of what she thinks is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that she hopes her husband will attend. She soon finds out it is actually a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting.

Though her intentions are pure, she soon succumbs to Ted’s efforts and kisses him in a coffee shop after a long heart-to-heart conversation full of sexual innuendos and awkward moments.

The ironic twist is that Ted is impotent. David and Hannah have the audience in tears in their last scene as they realize their strong love for each other.

There is a lot going on, the play is fast-paced and energetic. There is never a dull moment, and yet the plot is well-defined.

Founded in 1986, B Street Theatre, located at 2711 B St., has been bringing undeniable talent to people of all ages ever since, and “Collapse” is no exception.

Opening night was Sunday, and 170 people crowded into the darkly lit stage room for the 7 p.m. showing. The play runs through July 24 and is directed toward a more adult audience.

Don’t let this two-act, 90-minute play (with no intermission) fool you. It was a Global Age Project 2010 finalist, and playwright Allison Moore created a beautiful piece filled with just about every emotion and struggle on the map, and still it manages to leave the audience feeling lighthearted and carefree at the end.

“I like that it was funny and real,” said audience member Melissa Hightower, “because it was based on a real event that the writer experienced.”

Much praise is also due to directors Buck Busfield and Laura Baker for their obvious and widely successful efforts.

Vicki Reece has been ushering at the B Street Theatre for a year now, recruited by an old college roommate, said she is a strong believer that every play at B Street is wonderful.

“(Co-director and Producer) Buck (Busfield) picks plays that are just universally good,” Reece said. “I have enjoyed 100 percent of the plays at B Street Theatre.”

She’s right, judging by “Collapse.” Plan on laughing, crying and being constantly surprised.

“It was funny and powerful,” said audience member Ali Lippman. “What was most powerful about it was (the actors’) interactions with each other.”

The chemistry between the actors was evident, and rightly so, as they each have quite a bit of experience under their belts.

Jason Kuykendall, who plays David, may seem familiar because he has also been in “Searching for Eden,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and other productions. Not to mention, he’s had television roles on “General Hospital” and “State of Grace.”

Elisabeth Nunziato, playing Hannah, has been acting with B Street since it was founded and been in numerous plays, such as “The Wishing Well” and “Circle Mirror Transformation.”

Amy Resnick, in the role of Susan, has also been in many productions and originated the role of Susan at the Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley at the world premiere of “Collapse.” She has also toured the United States during her career, and she’s had roles on many popular TV shows such as “Law & Order.”

Adrian Roberts, who plays Ted, graduated from the American Conservatory Theater’s master of fine arts program. He spent two seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and has been in several other theaters. He has also appeared on TV in shows such as “Scrubs” and “Criminal Minds.”

The schedule is fairly flexible, with show times of 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets range from $18 to $30.

“At B Street, you know you are going to get something different,” Hightower said.

A four-man play that blows your mind? Yes, that is brilliantly different.

For more information visit B Steet Theatre online.

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June 13, 2011 | 11:33 PM

Taylor, awesome job on this theatre review. I really like the character descriptions.

June 14, 2011 | 2:24 PM

Great article, Taylor!

Avatar of P W
June 21, 2011 | 10:40 AM

I’m taking my wife to this play as a surprise for our 3rd anniversary…thanks, in large part, to this review. Thanks for the tip!

Avatar of P W
June 27, 2011 | 12:03 PM

We LOVED it! This was our first visit to B Street Theater…the first of many. Sorry we waited so long.

July 14, 2011 | 2:28 PM

Thank you! I’m am so glad you liked it, worth every penny! :]

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