by David Lally · March 20, 2015
The Tutors, by Battalian Theatre Company is a very modern piece with its hand on the pulse of today’s young twentysomethings. While struggling to keep their dream of creating the next social media revolution afloat, roommates Heidi (Kullan Edberg), Toby (Gerrit Thurston), and Joe (Dan Gonon) still have to make rent. But between tutoring the manipulative Milo (Michael Greehan) and editing application essays online, the boundary between distant professionalism and personal responsibility begins to blur.
Written by Erica Lipez and directed ably by Gadi Rubin, the show delves a lot deeper than the press release reveals. There are complications galore and each are revealed slowly and naturalistically throughout the show. All are believable, so Heidi, who appears course, crude and a bitch at the beginning of the play eventually reveals how she got that way. She has retreated so much into not leaving the apartment that she has even made up a dream version of a foreign student that she edited a grad school application for - Kwan (Sean Devare), who appears to her as she wants. When she meets the real life version, she is not prepared.
Joe, the caddish playboy who at first seems a bit of a loose cannon and lacking morals, turns out to have lines he won’t cross. Toby, who seems the sanest of the bunch, is the one who ultimately falls apart the most. It’s interesting to watch Heidi’s climb, Toby’s fall and Joe’s disillusionment over the course of ninety minutes. So many plays flatline when it comes to character development but Lipez shows that people grow and change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
Credit the little prep school punk, the manipulative Milo, who brings all this out in the three roommates. Actor Michael Greehan certainly has the best role here as he gets these three to reveal their inner selves and you can tell he is enjoying it. Though it takes some time to get cooking, the payoff is extremely satisfying. The actors are all good but take a little while to warm up to and are more assured of themselves in the latter half of the play when the material gets a bit juicier.