Did you ever try to get a 7:30 reservation to a trendy, high-end restaurant only to be told, somewhat derisively, that the establishment is “fully committed” for the next two months?
Chances are, while wallowing in your disappointment, you never gave much thought to the travails of the out-of-work actor/reservations clerk on the other end of the phone. Well, playwright Becky Mode has, and she turned those musings into an amusing one-person play called – what else? – Fully Committed, an off-Broadway and, more recently Broadway, audience pleaser, currently being revived at the Levis JCC’s West Boca Theatre Company.
There you will meet harried Sam Peliczowski, ensconced in a basement storeroom, the communications hub of a feverishly in-demand eatery. Permanently attached to a telephone headset, he fields calls from the rich, powerful and increasingly desperate trying to acquire that rarest of commodities –- a choice table reservation.
In between, Sam takes calls from the manic maître d’, the egotistical, yet insecure chef, other restaurant staffers, his family and a snide actor wannabe against whom he is vying for a role at Lincoln Center.
At West Boca, Mark Hernandez assumes all 40 of the play’s characters, streaking his way through various voices, accents, expressions and postures. True, he leans too heavily on the shrill for his female doyennes, but otherwise he channels the personas effectively and keeps his energy level high enough to sustain the show’s 90 intermission-less minutes.
WBTC producer Alan Nash’s staging of Fully Committed maximizes Hernandez’s movement on a set that should have felt more claustrophobic. And his lighting design includes puzzling mobile orange spots each time the chef calls down to Sam.
At the center of the play is Sam, who must really need the job to endure the abuse he receives from all directions, including having to clean the ladies’ toilet when a customer’s aim proved faulty. Anyone who has been stuck with a –- pardon the expression –- crappy job will probably identify with Sam’s situation.
Fortunately for him, and for the audience, playwright Mode manages to give a triumphant ending to Sam’s day.
FULLY COMMITTED, Levis JCC Sandler Center, 21050 95th Ave. South, Boca Raton. Through Sunday, Nov. 21. $30-$40. 561-558-2520.