Last night, October 27, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater opened Asuncion, a new comedy by Academy Award-nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) at The Cherry Lane Theatre. The official opening night is Thursday, October 27. The production is scheduled to run through November 27. Kip Fagan directs.
The cast includes Eisenberg, Remy Auberjonois (The Country Girl, Frost/Nixon), Justin Bartha (Lend Me A Tenor, The Hangover 1 & 2) and Camille Mana (Smart People, "One on One"), making her Off-Broadway debut in the title role. In Asuncion, two sheltered young men are forced to confront their ignorance when a young Filipino woman becomes their new roommate.
For tickets and more information, visit www.cherrylanetheatre.org/onstage/asuncion.
Charles Isherwood, New York Times: The bromance has become a familiar trope in movie comedies lately, and Mr. Eisenberg's variation on the theme is probably subtler than most. But "Asuncion" doesn't dig deeply enough into the relationship between Vinny and Edgar to let us overlook the flimsiness of its plot. Under the direction of Kip Fagan, the actors have perfect rapport, but if Mr. Eisenberg has met some challenges that bedevil young playwrights - in creating sharp characterizations and engaging dialogue - next time he'll need to find a more compelling, or at minimum convincing, story to dramatize.
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: While the point of "Asuncion" is mundane and breaks no new ground, it spotlights Eisenberg's comic gifts as actor and author. As he takes aim at know-it-alls who don't anything, he proves himself a keen marksman when it comes to pot shots and punch lines.
Marilyn Stasio, Variety: Eisenberg might not have a clue about plotting, but he has a facile comic skill for drawing eccentric characters and putting them in unhealthy relationships. He just doesn't know where to go next.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: Actors-turned-playwrights are proliferating this theater season, and two prominent Off Broadway debuts -- Zach Braff's All Good People and Zoe Kazan's We Live Here -- have provided no compelling reason to celebrate the trend. But while those plays displayed too little skill, maturity or emotional authenticity to justify the production resources lavished upon them, Jesse Eisenberg's Asuncion shows promise.
Caryn Robbins, BroadwayWorld: ASUNCION is an enjoyable night of theater with plenty of laughs mixed with occasional poignant moments. Eisenberg's character is one that he has come to play quite well, that of an awkward, self-conscious social misfit. However unlike the confident Mark Zuckerberg whom he played in last year's "Social Network", the character of Edgar is much more defenseless, allowing Eisenberg to expose a more vulnerable side to his acting. Bartha is a skilled physical comic and has great chemistry in his scenes with newcomer Mana. It's unfortunate that in the end, neither character really undergoes any profound transformation, despite their eye opening experience. Edgar remains a self-doubting loner who still possesses the dream, but unfortunately, not the drive to achieve it.
Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press: Director Kip Fagan adroitly keeps the action moving - no lulls here. Camille Mana and Remy Auberjonois give strong support as Asuncion and Stuart, Edgar's self-centered stockbroker brother. But the chief pleasure here is watching Bartha and Eisenberg, and their adroit, rather twisted dance of a codependent relationship. With his cocky persona, Bartha ("The Hangover") is perfect for Vinny - a role apparently written for him.