Asymmetric OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Deb Alexander
  • NY TIMES

  • L&S AMERICA

  • BROADWAY WORLD

Opening Night:
November 14, 2014
Closing:
December 6, 2014

Theater: 59E59 Theaters / 59 East 59th St., New York, NY, 10022

Synopsis: 

After Sunny walked out, Josh left the CIA and crawled into a bottle. Until tonight, when Josh wakes up from a bender in a windowless room. Someone has sold America's darkest secret, and it's up to Josh to get the traitor to confess. There's only one problem... he used to be married to her.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Asymmetric

    Giving His Ex-Wife the Third Degree

    Andy Webster

    November 21, 2014: The fluorescent lights overhead on the spare set of Mac Rogers’s espionage thriller Asymmetric, now at the 59E59 Theaters, establish the clinical atmosphere, buttressed by percussive electronic music from the sound designer, Jeanne Travis. The milieu is the Washington intelligence establishment, and the C.I.A.’s former ace interrogator, Josh Ruskin (Sean Williams), is yanked out of his drunken retirement by his successor, Zack (Seth Shelden), to extract information from a renegade ex-colleague. Secrets regarding a drone have been sold to “parties hostile to the United States” abroad. The person under question happens to be Josh’s former wife, Sunny (Kate Middleton). But first she’ll be worked on by Ford, a sadist with a metal case of preferred tools, including a nasty pair of shears. Ford (played with piercing vitriol by Rob Maitner) dismisses Josh as an alcoholic has-been, only grudgingly giving him time to induce Sunny to spill her secrets. We learn about Josh’s decline and the implosion of his marriage. And we discover what Sunny has been doing since their parting, including a romantic liaison overseas. Asymmetric, a collaboration between Ground Up Productions and Gideon Productions, and developed at the Vampire Cowboys’ Saturday Night Saloon series, rarely stumbles into obscure techno-speak. Mr. Rogers — working with Jordana Williams, the director and his frequent collaborator — has a keen ear for bureaucratic idioms and finely tuned pitch with narrative momentum. Just when you fear the play is heading down television-thriller avenues, it shifts direction, to address issues of national responsibility and personal accountability without a bit of fuss.

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  • LIGHTING AND SOUND AMERICA REVIEW OF Asymmetric

    Theatre in Review: Asymmetric (Ground Up Productions/59E59)

    David Barbour

    November 20, 2014: The term "too clever by half" could have been coined for Asymmetric, a spy drama that stretches one's credulity to the breaking point and keeps going. We are in an undisclosed location belonging to the CIA. Sunny, one of the agency's top operatives, has been accused of stealing the drawings of a new secret weapon, putting them up for sale on the Internet. The investigation is time-sensitive, because if news of her theft gets out it could bring down her entire operation, and her bosses, with her. Racing to do damage control, Zach, Sunny's superior, brings in Josh, Sunny's former supervisor and ex-husband, to interrogate her. How desperate a move is this? Josh and Sunny parted on the most acrimonious of terms, and, since then, Josh has gotten blind drunk nightly, rendering him all but unemployable. Before Josh can interrogate Sunny, he will have to get her to speak to him first.

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  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF Asymmetric

    Ground UP Productions' ASYMMETRIC at 59E59 Theaters Offers Theatrical Thrills

    Rachel Weinberg

    November 20, 2014: Mac Rogers's New York premiere play Asymmetric holds the distinction of being the only live theater thriller this audience member has seen. As staged by director Jordana Williams in the intimate Theater C at 59E59 Theaters, this play about troubled former CIA agent Josh Ruskin and his duplicitous ex-wife Sunny Black will leave audience members on the edge of their seats. Though lacking in emotional resonance, the production benefits from having an original theatrical concept backed by strong acting. Asymmetric follows down-on-his-luck, alcoholic, former spy expert Josh (Sean Williams). At the top of the play, Josh's former boss Zach (Seth Shelden) asks him back to his old CIA stomping grounds to work on a case that no other agent seems able to crack. Turns out Josh's former CIA unit, The Fifth Floor, has been infiltrated by a mole: Josh's ex-wife Sunny Black (Kate Middleton, who expertly plays out both the sweet and sour qualities inherent in her character's name). Along with fellow agent Ford (Rob Maitner) and Zach, Josh must see if he can pry the truth out of Sunny - and come face-to-face with his conflicting feelings for her.

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