Neal Bell's Spatter Pattern: or How I Got Away with It is running now through July 31st at the Atlantic Stage 2 (330 16th Street). Directed by Potomac Theatre Project's Co-Artistic Director Jim Petosa, Spatter Pattern is a part of the PTP/NYC's 25th Anniversary season in rep with Territories and Victory: Choices in Reaction. Spatter Pattern is a story of colliding worlds and consequences. By the happenstance of an available apartment, failing screenwriter Dunn (played by Jeffries Thaiss) meets and bonds with Tate (Adam Ludwig), a successful professor accused of murder. The play follows the two opposites as their connection deepens and their two worlds become one.
I was a little confused by the play on the whole. Going into the performance with the title I was given, I was expecting a very different play than I ultimately saw. I don't know. If you're going to name a play Spatter Pattern: or How I Got Away with It you're setting your audience up for a dark satire. However, when you opt to present them with a "Law and Order" psychological drama, it's a little disappointing. (Maybe that's just me.) I also felt that the characters just would not have acted in the way that they did, given the stakes they were presented with. On a whole, too many aspects in the play's text just simply rang as inauthentic.
Although I found the play itself a little disappointing, I found the production quite good. The acting was strong, especially given the script they were working with. A definite standout was Lucy Van Atta who played every female role in Spatter Pattern. She gave each of her characters their own dimensionality, filling in a lot of voids in the text. The directing was pretty strong as well. Jim Petosa definitely took the time to make the most of the space, suggesting pretty clearly the numerous places this piece takes you. The only weak point of the production itself was the lighting. I understood where the choices were going, using the lighting to show time and mood. However, sometimes the lighting was so dramatic, it actually verged on leaving the actors in complete darkness.
Even though, this is not my all-time favorite play by far, the production is strong. That's undeniable. It is definitely worth to check out, or at least to check out the rest of the shows in rep. The PTP/NYC's 25th Anniversary runs now through July 31st at the Atlantic Stage 2.