For those seeking yet another play that unearths the dirty secrets of family life, By and By Productions presents Moving Day, written and directed by Helene Montagna. It’s the ugly cousin twice removed of Broadway’s Next to Normal, its characters struggling to chemically balance their lives. Moving Day even adds hard drugs and adultery into the mix of dysfunction and decay. “Racy!” you might think. Wrong.
The mood is strained in the Greenpoint home of Max (Frank Nigro), a heroine addict, and Emily (Tina Barone), his co-dependent sister. Their lives are racked with self-created problems, and Max’s response is a plan to move to somewhere less riddled with complexity—New Hampshire. Emily urges him to stay, and the plot shifts back and forth
in time, using tricks of memory and flashback to reveal an important secret shared by Max’s ex-wife, Mel (Christie Zampella), and Emily’s love interest, Steven (Douglas Reid).
Max flies into a rage when he learns about this hidden past of Mel’s, but neither Montagna nor the actors make the pair’s relationship convincing enough to warrant his depression and fury. It’s difficult to imagine that any of the underdeveloped characters in this soap-operatic domestic debacle could be mad for each other, or even mad at each other. Mel’s voluminous Peg Bundy hairstyle probably required more chemistry than these vapid Brooklynites conjure among themselves.