Hate your job? There’s a pill for that.
Stephen Kunken, as Dr. Phil Gray, and Marin Hinkle, as Meena Pierotti. Photo © 2012 James Leynse
In Kate Fodor’s new comedy, “Rx,” a Primary Stages production at 59E59 Theaters through 3 Mar., it appears that Big Pharma has a prescription for all of life’s tribulations.
Meena Pierotti (Marin Hinkle), a published poet, is miserable being Managing Editor at “Piggeries, American Cattle & Swine Magazine.”
Schmidt Pharma is developing a drug designed to relieve work-related depression. Meena is the perfect candidate for a clinical trial.
In fact, Dr. Phil Gray (Stephen Kunken), a researcher for the company, tells Meena, when she admits that there are many jobs far worse and more menial than hers, earns upwards of $65,000 and is covered by health insurance.
Marylouise Burke, as Frances, and Marin Hinkle as Meena Photo © 2012 James Leynse
Phil’s boss, Allison (Elizabeth Rich) actually loves her job. She is delighted at the potentially large audience that could benefit from the product they are working on. Her enthusiasm is not infectious. Phil has some doubts whether he shouldn’t be working as a doctor in Africa.
Elizabeth Rich as Allison. Photo © 2012 James Leynse
Meanwhile, Meena, still waiting for the pills to kick in, meets a cheerful widow named Frances (Marylouise Burke), in the old ladies’ underwear section of a neighboring department store. To Meena’s surprise, Frances tells her that she really missed her menial factory job when she got married.
Marylouise Burke, as Frances, and Marin Hinkle as Meena meet in the old ladies underwear section. Photo © 2012 James Leynse
The cast under Ethan McSweeny’s excellent direction gives Kate Fodor’s witty and entertaining script its due. To help keep up the comic pace, Lee Savage cleverly uses modular variations on the Murphy bed in the fluid set design.
Michael Bakkensen as Simon. Photo © 2012 James Leynse
Giving the satire in “Rx” a little extra bite, Marin Hinkle and Stephen Kunken, whose credentials include a 2009 Tony-nod for “Enron,” give affecting naturalistic performances as the romantic leads.
Marin Hinkle as Meena and Stephen Kunken as Phil.Photo © 2012 James Leynse
Paul Niebanck, on the other hand, who also plays neurotic ad exec Richard, gives a broad, almost slapstick turn, as Morgan, a bumbling research doctor in Schmidt’s lab. Rounding out the expert cast as Meena’s gung-ho boss Simon is Michael Bakkensen.
Paul Niebanck as Richard. Photo © 2012 James Leynse
In “Rx,” KF writes a prescription for entertaining and earnest humor.
Visit www.primarystages.org to find out more about “Rx”