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admin / May 6th, 2016   Articles/Interviews,Crude

At a drilling platform off the coast of Texas, thousands of gallons of oil have begun hemorrhaging into the Gulf of Mexico. Its a horror for the environment, sure, but that doesnt really register with Jaime Kurtz, the central character of Jordan Jaffes dark new eco-comedy, Crude.

Jaime, the spoiled 20-something scion of the Houston company that owns the platform, has a more pressing worry: that the business his family built could be wiped out by this single disaster, taking his money with it.

Did Exxon go under after the Valdez spill? his old friend Aaron (W. Tr Davis) asks, trying to lift his spirits. Did BP go under after the Macondo blowout?

Those were different, Jaime (Nico Tortorella) replies. They were bigger companies. Plus, no one cares about Alaska or Louisiana.

The casually contemptuous way Mr. Tortorella says that last bit, quietly tossing it off as if it barely needs stating, fills in much of what we need to know about Jaime: his callous entitlement; his provincial thinking; the fact that deep down, this guy is really not all that deep. Also, his marriage to Brittany (Eliza Huberth), who runs a wetlands foundation, is probably in the kind of trouble that cant be fixed.

Watching Mr. Tortorella who stars, with Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff, in the TV Land series Younger is the pleasure of this production, directed by Kel Haney and presented by Black Lab Theater at Theater 511 at Ars Nova. The play itself is too much like an extended sitcom, and the issue-based arguments that Mr. Jaffe orchestrates can seem wildly inorganic like the one about our societal addiction to oil, between Jaime and Manny (Jose Joaquin Perez), a drug dealer Jaime has just met.

The action unfolds in Jaime and Brittanys comfortable living room (the set is by Caite Hevner Kemp), whose blandly tasteful furniture suggests thoughtless conformity. Brittany has taken off, thanks to Jaimes little problem with containing his rage, so he brainstorms crisis management with Aaron. To aid their thinking process, they get high on molly. Bro-fest wackiness ensues.

What keeps things interesting is Mr. Tortorella, who surfs the switchbacks of Jaimes moods with unusual grace. Easily charming when he wants to be, Jaime is mercurial in the manner of someone so cosseted by wealth that he has never had to rein himself in. The most rebellious he ever got was when he tried to be a documentarian, but he gave that up to do the expected thing, and now hes actually pretty miserable.

Do we care, though? Mr. Tortorellas impressive effort notwithstanding, I dont know why we would.

Source: New York Times



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The Love Bomb
Actor Nico Tortorella explores love and the labels associated with it. An At Will Radio Production.
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Current Projects
Younger
Nico as Josh
A newly single, 40-year-old mother tries to get back into the working world with her friends' help.
Hunter&Game
Nico as Carson
An aspiring Catalan filmmaker captures the week leading up to the debut album release of Brooklyn-based electronic music duo Hunter&Game
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Jay RyanRyan ReynoldsTyler Blackburn

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