Theater archives

Tall Tales


Unpredictability is writer Brian Harris’s game in the three one-acts that comprise Tall Grass: Each presents a couple navigating a strange arrangement to make living and loving tolerable, with visibility obscured by the “tall grass” of accumulated bitterness, anger, and defensive assumptions that can’t be easily cleared away from long-term relationships. But Harris overindulges his need for novelty, twisting his characters’ motives just as you think you understand them.

The versatile Marla Schaffel dictates the pacing in each act: here, a can-do-driven mania; there, a shut-in’s gait. “The Business Proposal” finds her and Mark H. Dold in a young professionals’ conundrum—they’re in love, but she chooses a job promotion over him. After a humorous digression into Dilbert-esque office aggravations, we’re into a different sketch. Dold holds his own, screaming “functional neurotic” in each of his three roles, but more vocal involvement from Edward O’Blenis as a foil in the back-and-forth between Dold and Schaffel’s harried marrieds in “The Gerbil” would have enlivened that piece considerably. Instead, the couple’s shrewish and spiteful exchanges grow wearisome, losing strength with each punch. Unsettling resolutions trump the comedic moments.