Theater Review: ‘Fully Committed’ at the Public

Fully Committed is a 1999 one-act comedy written by Becky Mode that depicts the trials and tribulations of a receptionist working the phones at a fashionable New Y0rk eatery during the holiday season. Originally written for a male performer (most recently Jesse Tyler Ferguson), it doesn’t make a bit of difference that the lead is played here by Josey Porras — especially with the level of energy she brings to the role. Actually roles, because there are about 40 character voices in the show.

She stars as Sam, an out-of-work actor who is fielding calls at the hectic reservation desk of a trendy restaurant that everyone absolutely must be seen in, including celebrities and other upper-crust Manhattanites. Most all of them treat her badly (“Don’t you know who I am??”) while the play simultaneously skewers the worlds of stardom and foody-ism.

The requests get more and more ridiculous as these gastronomes make their special orders. Sam does her best to politely accommodate all of them, but she is distracted by the news of her rival getting callbacks for a coveted role at Lincoln Center, while her recently-widowed father is entreating her to come spend Christmas with him in his now-empty home.

And when the house phones ring, she must also deal with the narcissistic chef, the ever-so-important maitre d’, and other superiors who think they’re…well, so superior.

As ArtScene SA has mentioned in previous reviews, the Pandemic has certainly taken theater to strange places. Rather than being performed in front of an audience, Fully Committed is presented online only. Theater has become television for the time being, but it gives actors a new challenge — keeping unseen audiences riveted for 80 minutes. Just as Ginger Gamble Martel did with the Public’s most recent production, Squeamish, Porras also achieves that.

There are four more opportunities to see the Public’s production of Fully Committed. It plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Streaming tickets are available here.

You don’t need to make plans. Hell, you don’t even need to wear pants. Just buy the stream.

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