Modern Life on Stage at Actors

You will love “Eat Your Heart Out”,  one of the Humana Festival of New American Plays entries, if you. . . are a single Mom struggling to balance work, parenthood and dating. Or if you are part of a married couple struggling to adopt a child. Or if you remember being a teen-ager struggling with love and friendship in a cruel environment.

Alex Moggridge and Kate Eastwood Norris in Eat Your Heart Out Humana Festival of New American Plays Actors Theatre of Louisville, 2012 Photo by Alan Simons

The play, by playwright Courtney Baron, centers on the life of Nance. She goes on an awkward first date set up through Match.com. She struggles because her teenage daughter is overweight, has just one friend in the world, and can’t fit into her prom dress. Nance admits she doesn’t love her daughter Evie the way a Mom should. And Nance, who works as a social worker, encounters a seemingly happy, successful couple who she must interview to assess their competence as adoptive parents.

If that sounds something like a modern sitcom, it wouldn’t be that far-fetched.

The funniest moments, at least for me, came during the Match.com date Nance has with Tom, a likable yet lonely man who tries really hard to make the right impression on her by taking her to an art gallery. He thinks it’s a better place than a coffee shop would be for this meeting, but both characters eventually make mis-steps. Nance and Tom both eventually admit to their loneliness, but seem ill-equipped to comfort each other.

The married couple, Alice and Gabe, argue over how to make an impression on Nance, who they believe will determine whether they are able to adopt a child. But Gabe brings home flowers, not realizing that Alice is allergic, illustrating the distance between them as they try to show what great parents they will be.

And the overweight high schooler, Evie, deals with a negative self-image while her friend Colin experience the rejection of a failed long-distance relationship.

So, yea, there’s plenty of modern drama in “Eat Your Heart Out.” Performed in the Bingham Theatre, the play illustrates modern life in a thoroughly entertaining way.

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