by Emily Edelman

Oldcastle Theatre Company’s current offering is “Fully Committed,” a one-person show written by Becky Mode revolving around struggling actor Sam, played by Allyson Boate, and set during a rather frantic shift at Sam’s day job of making reservations at an upscale restaurant. Boate takes on the roles of nearly 40 characters, creating voices, facial expressions and physical mannerisms for all of them that are unique enough that there is never even the slightest confusion about who is saying what. She is almost never still or silent, moving the play’s action quickly and easily. This is the first time I have seen Sam played by a woman, a choice made by director Jennifer Jasper because “the multi-tasking and empathy needed are what many women excel at in the workplace.” The gender swap also adds an interesting and thought-provoking power-struggle factor into a few of Sam’s relationships, especially the one she has with her boss, the chef.

Jasper maneuvers her actor around the entire set, making sure the set itself — designed in functional disorganization by Richard Howe — receives a constant and subtle (yet powerfully metaphorical) change at the end of the play, in similar fashion to Sam. Cory Wheat’s sound design adds the perfect amount of chaos to an already hectic show.

Funny, engaging and exhausting for both actor and audience, Oldcastle’s production focuses on personal connections, and is enjoyable and relatable whether or not you have ever worked in a restaurant. 

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“Fully Committed” runs through Sunday, July 31, at Oldcastle Theatre Company at Bennington Performing Arts Center, 331 Main St., Bennington, Vermont. For tickets and information, go online or call the box office at (802) 447-0564.

Written by: Becky Mode, based on characters created by Becky Mode and Mark Setlock; director: Jennifer Jasper; cast: Allyson Boate; assistant director: Pamela Corkey; scenic design: Richard Howe; costume design: Jennifer Marcoux; lighting design: Jessica Winward; sound design: Cory Wheat; stage manager: Kristine Schlachter; technical director: David V. Groupé; electricians: Kaiya Kirk, David V. Groupé; assistant stage manager: Scarlett Patiño; production assistant: Alexandra Zieselman.

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