The Understudy

By Monikha Reyes, 11th Grade, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts
What were always second best? When I received a call from a distressed editor who needed a replacement to see a show at the last minute, I was hesitant; it was my day off and all I wanted to do was rest. However, by 1:42 PM I was at the theatre, and as Harry (played by Justin Kirk) began to speak, my other thoughts disappeared. That’s when I knew that this play was going to be good. 

The Understudy follows Harry, the struggling actor; Jake, the movie star; and Roxanne, the stage manager. When Harry arrives for his first rehearsal as Jake’s understudy, no one is more shocked than Roxanne and with good reason—she and Harry were once engaged, until he left without a word two weeks before the wedding! Add a stoned techie (whom we never see) and a bit of Kafka, and you’ve got a recipe for a delicious disaster.

The relationships between the three very different characters unfold right before your eyes. The “mistakes” of the lights (including a blackout) and sound only add to the mix—the more mess-ups there are, the more you laugh.The Understudy is a joy to watch and leaves you satisfied. Even though I began as an “understudy critic,” I felt an ache in my chest as I left the theatre because I wanted to watch the whole thing again!
HOW TO SEE THE SHOW: thru Jan. 17 • 1/2 price student rush • Roundabout Theatre, Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St.