Richard Masur plays the elderly Bernard in Erin Mallon’s two-character play “The Net Will Appear,” a presentation by Mile Square Theatre and The Collective NY. The other character is Bernard’s nine-year-old neighbor, Rory, played by Eve Johnson. The direction is by Mark Cirnigliaro.
Bernard’s hunger for a bit of peace and quite on his roof is interrupted frequently by the precocious Rory, and the basic idea of the play is to have them get closer in spirit and bond in a way that is meant to warm the heart. Age and youth.
Johnson is a talented young girl with firm command of her lines, gestures and stage presence. However, even though the play is short in length and performed without an intermission, Johnson’s constant barrage of comments, whether cute, perceptive or funny, can grate on one’s nerves. Chatter by a kid like her can get to be a bit much.
The set (designed by Matthew J. Fick) is simple, consisting of a partial view of two dwellings with outdoor space separated by a short gap. Bernard emerges climbing out of his window. Rory scoots in and out of her window. At curtain call she leaps across the divide with his giving her a helping hand and they embrace.
One may appreciate the skill of the youngster and look forward to seeing her in a play that is more substantial and less cloying. Masur, with a long career in the theater, does what he must to move from initial annoyance to affection, in addition to reflecting loneliness and loss. However, Mallon’s play only offers a very thin experience. At 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th Street. Phone: 646-892-7999. Reviewed December 13, 2018.