The house music as you wait for Off-Broadway's Actually to start is Sia and Ed Sheeran, signaling that this is going to be some woke-ass theater. Twenty seconds after it starts, you know you're in for a treat. This 90-minute show is hip, edgy, and very, very, very...now.
Playwright Anna Ziegler is having a moment, this being her second new Off-Broadway play this season. Actually is her refreshingly relevant, smart, and considerate look at the repercussions for both parties when an accusation of campus rape is, admittedly by the accuser, in the gray area of consent. Anna writes using such natural dialogue that you can't imagine that these characters aren't real people. She amazingly pulls off referencing Snapchat, Game of Thrones, and Hamilton without it feeling like it's just a device to make the story feel extremely current. The best part about her writing? You are left feeling uncomfortable for laughing at hilarious monologues and scenes because of the delicate subject matter. Talk about nervous laughter...
Rising star of the directing world Lileana Blain-Cruz masterfully tells us this story with practically zero set and props, letting the acting shine. Actor Joshua Boone is extraordinarily likeable as Tom and Alexandra Socha masterfully peels back the curtain to let us see the complex and nuanced emotions of an overwhelmed Ivy League freshman.
Special shoutout to Tom's dope Nikes! Costume designer Paloma Young knows how young people actually dress in 2017.
Photos: Matthew Murphy
Peep this quick promo video to get a feel for the show.
Actually runs through December 10.