December 14, 2006
Theater: Troy vs. ‘Tsuris’
"How should I prepare?" asks playwright Mark Troy after agreeing to an interview the following morning about his new play, "Tsuris," opening Friday, Dec. 22, at the Sidewalk Studio Theater in Toluca Lake. "Should I wear a blue tuxedo?"
Although he is not a standup comedian and says he has a "pathological fear of being in front of an audience," Mark Troy is always "on."
When asked whether he is Jewish, Troy responds, "You will be needing proof of that?"
Actually, there is no need for such proof from Troy, whose last name may conjure images of Hector fighting Achilles, but whose latest play is about battles of a more contemporary nature -- among Jewish spouses, parents and their children in Florida.
Troy has written many plays about Jews, including "Join the Club," which just played at a Malibu festival and revolved around the decision of a 35-year-old man to get a circumcision. Another play, "Getting to Bupkus," focuses on a 12-year-old Jewish boy who runs away the night before his bar mitzvah and comes back 12 years later.
Their storylines may remind one of TV shows and films from the past, the first calling to mind the "Sex and the City" episode in which one of Charlotte's dates decides to test out his newly circumcised penis on multiple partners, and the second bringing back memories of "The Bar Mitzvah Boy," the film that every 12-year-old Jewish boy has seen.
Troy's new play, "Tsuris," also has a familiarity to it, but that doesn't mean that his dialogue lacks freshness. Troy has his characters rattle off humorous lines like, "Florida is like dog years; you times everything by seven."
Troy is not suggesting that everyone living in Florida is preternaturally ancient, but rather that "something slows you down" and you end up replicating your grandmother's habits -- going to K-mart, going to the pool, then another pool and, most of all, eating dinner at 4 p.m. at Bagel Palace or Bagel Nosh or Bagel Land.
At these bagel emporia, elders may even utter adages such as this parody of Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man speech: "They say every man should have three wives. When he's in his 20s ... there's the lustful wife. Then in midlife, he has the motherly wife. Then in his final golden years...the companion wife.... Thank God I've found in Irma Messersmidt the lustful whore I've been missing."
"Tsuris" plays Dec. 22 through Feb. 3 at the Sidewalk Studio Theater, 4150 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake.