Kurt Vonnegut’s MAKE UP YOUR MIND (playing through Nov. 30th) was cobbled together by Nicky Silver from comic fragments Vonnegut never finished. The author, most famous for his novels, especially Slaughterhouse-Five, died in 2007 without revisiting the material. MAKE UP YOUR MIND marks the beginning of SpeakEasy Stage’s commitment to produce new works in addition to their regular season productions. Not many theaters are willing to take a chance on new plays so SpeakEasy is to be commended.
Director Cliff Fannin Baker’s production of MAKE UP YOUR MIND, alas, is paced so slowly and styled so realistically, that the outrageous humor mostly falls flat. As I watched, I wondered if a “Saturday Night Live” rapid, over the top delivery of the lines couldn’t have helped to punch it up, although the dialogue is peculiarly awkward and, I’m sorry to say, the female lead is miscast. She simply wasn’t funny—and she was up against two of the best comic actors in town, Richard Snee and Barlow Adamson.
The premise is amusing enough: Adamson’s character treats indecisive patients and employs an enforcer to keep them on track—or put them in traction if they veer off. Unfortunately MAKE UP YOUR MIND is so heavy handed that even Snee and Adamson, try as they might, couldn’t keep it afloat.