Tabletop Playwright Brings Latest, Last Word, to Lark Jan. 30-Feb. 8

News   Tabletop Playwright Brings Latest, Last Word, to Lark Jan. 30-Feb. 8 Playwright Rob Ackerman had one of the sleeper hits of 2000 when his quirky Tabletop opened quietly and won some of the best reviews of the year, later transferring to a commercial run.
A scene from Tabletop
A scene from Tabletop

Ackerman returns to the Off-Broadway scene Jan. 30-Feb. 8 to workshop his latest, "a bittersweet comedy about men's minds" called Last Word. The show is presented by the Lark Theatre Company (939 Eighth Avenue). Connie Grappo, who staged Tabletop, directs Matthew Boston, Brennan Brown, Pamela J. Gray, Elizabeth Hanly Rice and Lou Sumrall. The five cast members are the guests at a hastily convened dinner party made up of old and new friends who do not necessarily mesh. Rice appeared in Tabletop as a ruthless, SUV-owning, leather pants-wearing office manager.

Tabletop had an unlikely subject: the peculiar, isolated and competitive corner of advertising that focuses on perfectly-framed films and photos of food products—what is know in the industry as "tabletop" shots, because most of the merchandise is photographed while resting on a table surface. The high-octane production and tight ensemble acting was praised, with critics calling the play a hilarious and chilling portrait of office politics and the best workplace drama in years. The production received the 2001 Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble Performance.

The uniformly positive reviews of the obscure production—it began at Dance Theatre Workshop, a venerable institution, albeit not one specifically known for producing new plays—resulted in a commercial transfer to the American Place Theatre. The needed audiences did not materialize, however, and the show closed on Dec. 31 after 2-1/2 months.

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling (212) 352-3101.