The Playwrights Horizons world premiere of Evan Smith's Psych, about a confused graduate psychology student who moonlights as a dominatrix, opens Dec. 16 at the borrowed venue, the Peter Norton Space, on 42nd Street.
Danny Burstein, Marissa Copeland, Heather Goldenhersh, Enid Graham, Katie Kreisler and Damian Young play roles (sometimes doubling and tripling) in the new satiric comedy that picks at the scab of graduate-school department dynamics while examining a group of flawed people who sit in judgment of Sunny Goldfarb (Goldenhersh), the leather mistress in question. The work is made more complicated by the fact that Sunny is not a clear-thinking heroine. The work is narrated by Sunny's best friend, Molly, played by Enid Graham in earth-tone costumes. Sunny and Molly attended Vassar together.
Previews began Nov. 24. Jim Simpson directs the comedy at the Peter Norton Space, a venue on loan from Signature Theatre while PH builds its new theatre a few blocks away on 42nd Street.
The intermissionless play is described this way in production notes: "Is everyone out to get Sunny Goldfarb, or is it all in her head? Psychology grad school turns out to be more of a minefield of desperation and duplicity than the S&M parlor where she moonlights as a dominatrix. In a world of people who claim to be the authorities on crazy, but sure don't act like it, who can she trust? A comic thriller of paranoia, betrayal and the perils of being nice."
* Designers are Kyle Chepulis (set), Claudia Brown (costume), Frances Aronson (lighting) and Scott Myers (original music and sound).
Evan Smith penned The Uneasy Chair, seen in PH's 1998-99 season, and Off-Broadway's Servicemen. Goldenhersh appeared in PH's Freedomland and Goodnight Children Everywhere. Graham was a Tony Award nominee for Honour and played one of three sisters in Second Stage's Crimes of the Heart. Burstein is known for A Class Act, Roundabout's Company, and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Copeland is a member of the comedy troupe, the Nellie Olesons.
Tickets are $45. The Peter Norton Space is at 555 W. 42nd Street in Manhattan. For information, call (212) 279-4200 or visit www.playwrightshorizons.org.
— By Kenneth Jones