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When Love Disappoints You: “The Way We Get By”

This production by Neil LaBute engages the audience and it is worth the effort to catch it before it closes

by Emanuele Capoano

The Way We Get By.

Francesca Ravera is starring in Neil LaBute’s “The Way We Get By,” adding to her interesting variety of New York theater and film credits over the past several years. Francesca portrays a young woman disappointed  by love and overly susceptible to emotional traps following a drunken one-night stand. You can still see her in this acclaimed Neil LaBute drama through Sunday, April 14 at Urban Stages (259 W 30th St) under the direction of Kim Sharp.

At the start of the play two attractive singles, Doug (André Vauthey) and Beth (Francesca Ravera), have just consummated their strong sexual desire for each other. Everything begins in the apartment Beth resides in as Doug gets up in the middle of the night and begins to explore the living room where quiet normally prevails. While doing so he inadvertently stumbles into the area of a classic New York situation. Beth lives with a roommate who’s a perfectionist, a fact made transparent by Duane Pagano’s attractively minimalist set design. She wakes up after she hears Doug noisily fidgeting about the living room. Everything is revealed in bits and pieces from the moment Beth leaves her contented sleep. Following moments of awkward conversation she tries kissing Doug, but after a while he resists her advances. We don’t know why for half an hour, between observing a nervousness in Doug that makes us doubt his true intentions and watching his desire to connect. Then there is a stinging revelation from Ravera’s Beth that she skillfully conveys in her acting which ranges from youthful language to a young woman on the path to maturity. Love made so difficult in a metropolis like New York finds a positive outcome, even though the resolution is so powerful that it seems somewhat unbelievable to the viewer. Yet the final catharsis of every good theatrical text is interpreted on the stage by performances with beats marked by the sentiments of a generation that amazes.

Excellent direction and fine acting with superb comic and dramatic timing from Ravera and Vauthey, who have great chemistry together. This production of “The Way We Get By” engages the audience and it is worth the effort to catch it before it closes.

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