by Mel House · August 15, 2014
Arriving at one of my favorite New York Fringe theatres--Venue #4: Teatro LATEA on Suffolk Street--I eagerly awaited the start of Eilis Cahill’s debut play FUTEBOL. I love the idea of a play set during the World Cup in São Paulo, Brazil. Especially, because the play’s tagline reads: “It’s not really about soccer. Like, at all.” I’m guessing lots of other people did too, because the theatre was packed!
The play begins in a high-rise apartment, belonging to a young woman named Rachel (played by Cahill) and her sportswriter husband. Because her husband is all-consumed, presumably with the World Cup, Rachel has neglected to tell him that her father has died back in the United States. An injury has prevented her from getting back for his funeral, and we find her entagled in bed covers trying to hide from the world.
Enter Alexander (played by director James Glossman), a charming father figure, who tries to prod Rachel out of bed. After a good faith effort, he relents. And then we meet Richard, another father figure, who eventually manages to lure her to the living room. Though NOT out of her pajamas. A comedic scene ensues, while the two men attempt to get her to eat and we learn a bit about how this trio came to be. Rachel’s father was a very successful writer, who mentored Alexander and Richard. Rachel later compares them to a Manson-like cult, without the Beatles or murder.
The two men have traveled to São Paulo under the guise of attending the World Cup, but really they’ve arrived to check on Rachel. They have both been influential in her life and to her development as a writer. Alexander fights to get Rachel to reject her life in São Paulo, which he supposes is an act of rebellion, and return home to the U.S. He’s desperate to save her from herself. Meanwhile, Richard plays the good cop by affirming her decisions and offering his trust. I loved the contrast between Glossman’s frentic energy as Alexander and Mike Boland’s grounded and thoughtful portrayal of Richard.
As the day unfolds, Rachel learns that her Dad married his protege--Rachel’s nemesis, the “Snatch Queen”--just weeks before his death. And that this woman Linda (played by Linda Setzer), not only spoke at his funeral, but served as the next of kin to receive the funeral guests. The play takes an unexpected turn when Linda shows up, demanding that they all go to a World Cup match. I can guarantee that you will not see the ending coming!
The characters in Cahill’s play are smart and interesting. They are definitely a tribe of writers, and as such spend a good deal of time talking about writing: who wrote what, sources of inspiration, and eventually personal stories. Ancient history is unearthed and secrets are revealed. At times the play is heavy with exposition, which keeps the tension from building and difuses some of the suspense. However, Cahill has a very compelling voice. She enjoys strong language and I dig that about her. I look forward to seeing what this artist creates next!