Charlie DelMarcelle calls out the critic.
In the middle of The Audience Disturbs Marcel’s Bath Time and He Is Very Upset With You All, a little one act whose title is nearly as long as the 40-minute play, DelMarcelle, as the central character Marcel, is interacting with the audience, ad-libbing like mad. “What’s she writing?” he wonders aloud, looking at me. Then he grabs my notebook and reads what I’ve written, pretending it says, “This could be the end of Charlie DelMarcelle’s career.” It was a great moment, testimony to DelMarcelle’s confidence. His career is in no danger whatsoever.
Ryan Bultrowicz’s play is about a man taking a bath; Marcel teases us, sensuously preparing a candle and a rubber ducky, dancing around the old-fashioned blue tub, removing his robe, then a towel, finally to reveal he’s wearing a bathing suit.
But who are we, the audience? The bathroom is “a sacred place,” so what kind of “perverts” (his word) buy tickets to watch a man take a bath? His wife, Emilia (Meghan Winch), appears — and we seem to be invisible to her.
To provide answers to the above questions would be to spoil what little plot there is. The central, unspoken idea, rather than the sequence of events, suggests the play concerns those prevalent feelings in contemporary life: paranoia and desperation — especially when it comes to money and health care. It’s one thing to sell your blood, or your hair, but it’s another to sell your privacy. Just ask Facebook.
Director Kathryn MacMillan manages the difficult space well. The audience is seated at tables with a center aisle; the bathtub curtain functions as the theatrical curtain, too. A Play, a Pie and a Pint is a British pub tradition, here Americanized to a drink (wine, beer, or soda) and a slice of pizza. It’s sort of a theatrical happy hour.