When I noticed the lack of diversity in the audience, I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy the play. The lights flickered signaling its time to start, so I mentally prepared for what I thought was going to be an uncomfortable Thursday night. After ninety minutes straight of pessimism and the occasional comedic relief, I was proven wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the world premiere of “Be Here Now.” Packed into the Shelterhouse Theatre at Playhouse in the Park, a small cast of four shed some light of truth on the clichés “never judge a book by its cover” and “there’s more to life than what meets the eye.”
Bari (Eva Kaminsky) is a 40-plus doctoral student who has the “what is life” mantra down pat and suffers from intense headaches and seizures. Luanne (Emily Kratter) is the lovable yet flighty one of the bunch who makes you question your rationale if you ever find yourself agreeing with her. Patty (Michele Ragusa) is the red-headed feisty “aunt” figure that you hate to admit is right about whatever she’s talking about. Last but not least, my favorite character, Mike (Torsten Hillhouse) is the definition of a diamond in the rough, with quirky hobo fashion and Einstein-level genius.
The opening scene is loosely connected to the rest of the play, having the three leading ladies sitting in a yoga class with some foreshadowing of Bari’s personality. What I enjoyed the most was the interaction between Bari and Mike. In one scene Bari is repulsed by the sight of Mike, then demands sex from him in the next. Later in the play, we find out Mike’s backstory and it is one of heartache, sorrow, and loneliness. I couldn’t help but feel empathetic. The overall storyline was easy to follow, even when my neighbor laughed louder and longer than the rest of the crowd, causing me to miss a few lines.
After watching Patty play matchmaker, Luanne send nudes, Mike cater to his pet crow, and Bari’s awkward sexual advances, the play ended with a standing ovation. Exiting the theater, there was a nice arrangement of food and of course, the cash bar. The actors came out to meet and greet audience members, some even taking a selfie or two. “Be Here Now” is entertaining and relatable. We all know a Bari, a Mike, a Luanne, or a Patty.
“Be Here Now” runs through March 11. For tickets call 513-421-3888 or visit www.cincyplay.com.
Courtney Myrick is a local journalist who loves fine arts, food, and her dog Neyla. Her favorite pastimes include, but are not limited to: Netflix bingeing, writing, and trying random ideas found on Pinterest.