Saturday , March 2 2024
Strangers on a train.

Theater Review (NYC Fringe): ‘Track Twelve’ by Emily Comisar

Thrusting strangers together in adversity is one theatrical trick that never goes out of style. Playwright Emily Comisar does a pretty nifty job of it in her agile and amusing Track Twelve.

During a long, weather-related delay at New York City’s Penn Station – but it could be in any major American city – a brother and sister on their way to their mother’s wedding meet an estranged couple on a business trip. Conversations, flirtations, and revelations later, family and career turning points arrive.

Photo by Matthew Reber Mike (Charlie Gorrilla) and Jenny (Keelie A. Sheridan) bond over a beer.
Photo by Matthew Reber. Mike (Charlie Gorrilla) and Jenny (Keelie A. Sheridan) bond over a beer.

Holding together this artificially constructed but not entirely implausible situation are two fibers of reality: naturalistic dialogue, and a cast adept at the phrasing and pacing such writing demands. The downside of this style is that the actors can get a little naturalistically mumbly. The upside, when it’s done well, is rapid-fire amusement.

Most amusing of all – and, not coincidentally, least mumbly – is the delightful Keelie A. Sheridan as Jenny, a voluble free spirit with a sad backstory but a percolating lust for life. Jenny’s older brother Simon (a sharp Leo Goodman) is a wealthy, nerdy banker with great comic timing. With neat symmetry, while Jenny flirts with straight-laced efficiency expert Mike (Charlie Gorrilla), Simon collaborates with Mike’s ex, uptight Lindsay (Sarah Sanders), on the play’s least believable development: Simon’s becoming an instant business advisor to the fighting pair.

Fortunately, the action moves quickly, and the appealing characters made me mostly willing to suspend my disbelief. However, for me there was an asymmetry in the story’s impact: I couldn’t help caring a good deal more about Jenny and Simon’s family situation – the siblings’ severely contrasting personalities, the supposedly nutty mother on the phone, the absent father, the brother-sister jealousy – than about Mike and Lindsay and what would become of their company.

Comisar’s flawed but nimble and funny ride proves that even in the 21st century strangers can still meet cute (or quirky) on a train – or waiting for one. Track Twelve has one more performance as part of this year’s New York International Fringe Festival.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Music, where he covers classical music (old and new) and other genres, and Culture, where he reviews NYC theater. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at where he is on a mission to visit every park in New York City. He has also been a part-time working musician, including as lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado.

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