Directed by Steven Williford
Review by Rose Desena
Day Trader is billed as a thriller, but that’s just not true; it’s a con job, literally. Ron (Daton Stone) wants out of his marriage to his mysterious wife who constantly leaves him poetic notes. Only issue, she is loaded, and if he walks, he’s broke. However, if his wife wants out, then he gets a hefty settlement, seven million to be exact. That is a lot of dough. So what is a guy to do? So he tries to make some money, he buys a course in day trading and invests his meager savings, but he is not at all successful.
Meanwhile, his slimy friend Phil (Tim Meineischmidt), whom Ron confides in, telling him a little more than he should have, has his own ideas. Phil being his best friend and all figures Ron needs a little help. He decides to take him out to a club where he meets a very beautiful sexy waitress who instantly gives Ron her number: just like that, this little frumpy man with the whiny voice gets a hot number. Really!
Now, Ron has a smart-ass, conniving teenage daughter who seems to be a pawn in the whole thing. After her father accuses her of stealing money from her mother, he sends her to a therapist. One of my problems with this scenario is she never speaks to her mother about it. She just seems to take her father’s word, even though she knows he is a slime bucket. The con begins. Who is being conned? Watch and see. I do not want to spoil it, but I think you see where this is going, so I am going to stop here.
Unfortunately, I figured out the whole play in the first 15 minutes, it was so predictable. Daton Stone is just not believable as the nerdy husband and neither is his daughter. The wife (who we never see), with her fortune to protect and lawyers advising her, never thinks to check out the therapist? It just didn’t make sense.
The stage set is gorgeous, a large stained glass window hangs in the back acting like a screen that moves us through the many, and I mean many scenes. Too many scenes changes for my taste, and I have a rule if it takes longer to change the set than it does to run the scene, it doesn’t work. No matter how creative the scene changes are, it still distracts from the play. There is a live drummer and voice-overs that keep you entertained but for me that just acts as a filler for a production issue.
I was disappointed; I did a Q and A with Eric Rudnick the writer. I know he was very passionate about this play; he and the cast worked hard to get it where it is. I feel like there were too many gaps in the script such that it lacked flow. A good con that is tight is believable. The person watching it should never know what is happing until the very end when everything suddenly comes together and leaves you mystified and intrigued.
I think this could use a little more work. All that being said it did have some moments that made it entertaining. The audience seemed to enjoy it as did my guest, so you might want to try it, particularly if you are on that side of Los Angeles.
“ Day Trader”
Playwright: Eric Rudnick
Directed by Steven Williford
Cast: Brighid Fleming, Tim Meinelschmidt, Danton Stone, Murielle Zuker
Schedule: 7 pm Thursdays – Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays
Closing: February 16, 2014
The Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90057
213-389-3856 or http://www.bootlegtheater.org