Zoetic Stage opened its production of Detroit at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on November 6, 2014.
Ecstatic and dangerously funny, Detroit rips up the floorboards to reveal the racing heart under a crumbling suburban dream. Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D'Amour, this comedic drama takes place somewhere in the suburbs of a mid-sized city when Ben and Mary welcome into their lives the mysterious couple who moves next door. But as this foursome bonds over backyard barbecues, the neighborly connection they find threatens to unravel the lives they've built. Soon they find themselves increasingly pulled toward their wild new friends – to incendiary effect. A dangerous new comedy, named one of The New York Times' "Top 10 Plays of 2012," Detroit exposes the nerves that live just under the surface of American life today.
Stuart Meltzer directed a cast that featured Betsy Graver, Irene Adjan, Chaz Mena, Matt Stabile, and David Kwiat.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
D’Amour’s Detroit, now kicking off Zoetic Stage’s season in the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, is part withering comedy, part character study. Its characters’ lives are refracted through the lens of the economic downturn, as the American Dream transforms from aspiration to myth. What the play depicts is, by turns, funny, stress-filled and cautionary — much like life itself these days.
…under Stuart Meltzer’s artfully detailed direction, this volatile but fascinating quartet heads toward a conflagration, as bad decisions, bad influences and bad old habits prove disastrous.
As is usually the case in a Zoetic show, the acting is uniformly fine — and, in Graver’s case, masterful. Reading the script, you don’t get a sense the play belongs to Sharon, but Graver claims it… Graver shades the character with an enthusiastic simplicity so winning that the audience, like Stabile’s quietly empathetic Kenny, forgives Sharon her flaws.
Adjan and Mena put Mary and Ben in that testy place between comfortable familiarity and overt hostility. The actors let the audience see how, despite the couple’s attempts at social graces and keeping up appearances, the economic downturn may well prove fatal to their marriage.
Zoetic’s design team — Michael McKeever (set), Marcelo Ferreira (lighting), Matt Corey (sound) and Estella Vrancovich (costumes) — delivers first-rate work, and the play’s daunting technical challenges come off without a hitch.
No matter how greatly the economy rebounds, the much-produced Detroit will remain a vibrant, insightful piece of theater.
Michelle F. Solomon
reviewed wrote for Florida Theater On Stage:
While it’s easy to take the play at its face value, director Stuart Meltzer offers a purposeful pacing that gives the show its perfect ascent. Every once in a while, ambient noise of planes flying over the suburban houses can be heard, and it adds to the energy — this slow ascent that arrives to full throttle.
Each of the characters climb, too — their peaks and valleys in tune to the direction of D’Amour’s script. Graver’s Sharon is the most volatile. The actress uses every opportunity to dig deep for a surprise whammy of teeter-totter emotions. Adjan’s Mary is more slow burn, yet fragile and brittle... Mena peppers Ben with idiosyncrasies – he fiddles with the reading glasses that dangle on a thin strap around his neck, he laughs sometimes nervously, sometimes full on, he’s entirely self conscious, yet keeps up a veneer of confidence.
Stabile’s Kenny plays like a caged animal, calm on the surface but ready to break free at any moment... Kwiat’s monotone delivery works best as he conveys the way things used to be. “Such a perfect memory,” he says as he describes what the neighborhood was like when it was a real community.
Michael McKeever’s realistic set undergoes a transformation late in the play in a “how’d they do that?” moment. The rest of the production team delivers on creating the realism so necessary to keep the show rooted in believability with costumes by Estela Vrancovich and Marcelo Ferreira’s lighting design. Matt Corey’s ambient sound adds bucolic effect.
The Zoetic Stage production of Detroit plays at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts through November 23, 2014.