"Deceit" is a suspenseful and compelling play by Richard Ploetz that reveals how far some people are willing to take their lies to protect the fragile nature of "being normal." Theater for the New City will present the piece, directed by Andreas Robertz, January 10 to 27 in its Cino Theater.
Still waters run deep throughout this play, whose central character is a handsome everyday husband and father: an investment banker named Frank who sometimes calls himself Bob. As Frank, he plays the role of an ordinary heterosexual married man with an eight year old son. As Bob, he conducts a series of gay love affairs, enabled by Internet dating. His wife Helen, an urbane and sophisticated woman, is surprisingly unaware of his gamesmanship. She is editor of a popular magazine and her reporter, Ken, is researching a blockbuster story about "married men who date other men." Ken's exposé will include secret information from a man he has been interviewing for several weeks, who goes by the name of...Bob. Meanwhile, Bob's lover Jeffrey, a Hermes accessories salesman, cultivates a friendship with Helen that will raise the stakes--and thrill--of the discovery of his relationship with her husband.
As the walls between Frank's separate lives grow increasingly thin, we realize that every adult character in this triangle--or is it a pentagon?--is self-deceiving or deceiving others. This must be so, to maintain the compartmentalization upon which the deceit uneasily rests. The play is a symbolic and hard hitting take on extra-marital affairs. It glimpses into the human personality and asks if one can ever be truly oneself in our technology-based society, when Craigslist, Facebook, and Twitter give us facile new identities with artificial user names and profiles. Which side of us is real and which is used to get what we want in the moment?
This play is the Theater for the New City debut of playwright Richard Ploetz, a Yale Drama School grad who also holds an MFA from the Columbia writing program. His plays have been presented through the years by WPA Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, Theater Genesis, Ensemble Studio Theater, La MaMa and South Coast Repertory Theater (CA). Ploetz is also an active member of Emerging Artists Theatre, where this play was developed. It was originally inspired by a Katie Couric story on Internet dating, in which she passed herself off as somebody else and met a man who was posing as an anesthesiologist. This became a one-act that delved into how two such people would feel about each other and where their conversation might go. Invited to submit a piece to the Fresh Fruit Festival five years ago, Ploetz changed the play's characters to two men and found, to his surprise, that he hardly had to change a word. That play, titled "The Anesthesiologist," was subsequently enlarged after Ploetz read an investigative article in New York Magazine about married men who date men on the side. The central character then became three-lived, bridging his married relationship, his gay relationship, and his confessional relationship with the reporter (the only honest relationship of the three). The play, now named "Deceit," focuses not only on the web of connections people secretly make, but also their compulsive need to be caught.
Director Andreas Robertz is a prolific German-born director who has been working principally in New York since 2006. He was in charge of productions for young audiences at the renowned Klecks Theater in Hanover and City Theater of Munster and was a guest director at theaters of the cities of Dortmund and Lippstadt. He also directed a series of plays by American authors at the avant-garde ARTheater in Cologne. In 2005, he directed "New Czech Voices," a series of readings at in The Public Theater in NYC that was produced by the Immigrants' Theater Project. His TNC productions include three plays by Mario Golden, "Love of Brothers," "The Boxer's Son" and "Confessions of a Sex Addict," all staged in his capacity of Artistic Director of OneHeart Productions. He has also worked with the Martin E. Siegel Theater and Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. His awards include numerous prizes in Cologne, Dortmund and Oberhausen and the 2008 Golden Penguin Award (Germany) for best direction for the one-woman show, "Which Is The Best Drug For Me" by Kai Hensel.
The cast features Steve Hauck as Frank/Bob, Mario Golden as Jeffrey, Glory Gallo as Helen, Ethan Haberfield as Tommy, and Joshua Zirger as Ken. Set and costume design are by Yankob Bakulic.