Based on a Totally True Story
Based on a Totally True Story is a wonderful production being put on by the Manhattan Theater Club. This play written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa shows me again one of the reasons I continue to support MTC every year.
The venue is at the West 55th playhouse. Small and intimate. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. The stage is set in the middle of the stadium like seats. You are literally part of the scenery.
The premise is a totally true story. A total slice of NYC / LA life. Carson Elrod, who plays the main character Ethan is excellent. He play a gay man living in NYC, writing the comic book series Flash for Time Warner while he also writes plays on the side. After all, he is a writer. He meets Michael, played by Pedro Pascal who is also excellent, at the local gay coffee bar. He is a writer too. They begin a relationship.
Through this relationship, Ethan’s play is picked up by a Los Angeles producer who wants to turn his play into a screenplay. Mary Ellen, played hilariously by Kristine Nielsen, is the crazy producer. She is in Los Angeles and the majority of their interactions take place by phone.
As the relationship grows between Ethan and Michael, the craziness of Ethan’s world begins to take a toll on their relationship. He has deadlines all over the place. The Flash, the screenplay and he is trying to write another play. Michael during this time is also writing a novel. During this insanity, his father dumps his stuff on Ethan. It sends Ethan over the top. Ethan keeps it all to himself which isn’t good for healthy adult relationships.
The father, played by Michael Tucker, is wonderful. I forgot what a great actor he is and the stage presence he commands. Also I can’t help but add that Linda Cho, who does the costume design, did a fantastic job. The clothes are totally hipster on these 2 guys. The Los Angeles producer is perfectly dressed in her sweat suit and sneakers and hippy skirt. Even the dad is spot on.
The play goes from present, to future, to past. It is a wild ride. It is a total slice of life. Completely a New York story. One that could have been overheard at the local coffee shop or told among your friends. Also the places they refer to such as the restaurants they go to, the theater they see, the movies they talk about are familiar places in my own life.
We walked out of the play happy. If you can get tickets, go. I really loved this play. The acting is great. The story line is clever. The lines are good. A great evening.