Mario Van Peebles Ties Woman to a Chair in Tied to a Chair


Tied to a Chair
Directed by Michael Bergmann
Process Studio Theatre
Opens May 27, Big Cinemas

Introducing eclectic elements on a whim without generating any actual whimsy, Tied to a Chair details the high-wire adventures that engulf mistake-prone housewife Naomi (Bonnie Loren) after she ditches her British husband to pursue her long-discarded acting aspirations. That mission takes her to the Cannes Film Festival, where she demands to be the lead in faded-star Billy Rust’s (Mario Van Peebles) new project, which he views as a sell-out (the script was written by a computer program) that will hopefully kickstart his career, and which would require Naomi to be bound to a chair—a situation she mystifyingly refers to as “every woman’s dream.” Writer/director Michael Bergmann’s herky-jerky time-jumping edits result in comedic and narrative arrhythmia and a sense of disorienting affectation that only mounts once Naomi travels to New York for a screen test and becomes unwittingly embroiled in Billy’s faked-death ruse, shenanigans involving her mobster father’s goons, and a terrorist plot by immigrant cabbies whose vehicles have ejector seats. Naomi’s sudden adeptness at hot-wiring cars and speaking Arabic supposedly proves that she really is a great actress, but Loren’s performance is as tonally off as the rest of Bergmann’s jokey lark, which strings together characters and twists with amateurishly chaotic abandon.


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