February 11, 2002
'Fully Committed' on stage at ACT
by Deborah Stone
Arts and Entertainment
Becky Mode's hilarious and satirical off-Broadway hit, "Fully Committed," takes the stage at A Contemporary Theatre.
The one-man comedy stars well-known Seattle actor R. Hamilton Wright in a demanding role that requires him to impersonate more than thirty characters, including Wall Street brokers, pushy Hollywood promoters, Mafioso, Arab sheiks and spoiled heiresses.
Wright plays Sam, a struggling, unemployed actor who works in the rat-infested basement of one of New York's ultra-chic restaurants. He toils at the phones of this trendy, snooty establishment, juggling reservations for the rich and famous who are all desperate for a table, pronto!
He has the impossible task of placating and appeasing these customers, all while putting up with the restaurant's pretentious French maitre d", its Latino kitchen staff and a demanding egotistical chef who barks commands via a bright, red phone with a piercing ring.
As the lines continuously buzz, Wright uses dozens of voices and facial expressions to convey the various persona who beg, threaten and cajole Sam into squeezing them in on an already overbooked weekend night.
The title "Fully Committed" refers to the restaurant's status of being completely booked, months in advance, and is the term that the pompous chef insists on having Sam use to describe this situation to customers.
Wright also plays Sam's brother, his Midwestern dad and several friends, including a fellow actor who calls periodically to gloat over his audition successes.
"Fully Committed" was partly inspired by Mode's real life experiences at an upscale Manhattan restaurant (no longer in existence), as a former waitress and coat check girl.
The play was named one of the top ten plays of 2000 by "Time" magazine and has been performed all over the world to rave reviews.
Wright does not disappoint in ACT's production (directed by Kurt Beattie) and takes on his role with gusto and enormous energy.
His ability to alternate the role of Sam with the numerous other characters he plays shows his range and versatility as a performer. He makes great use of his comedic talents and is not afraid to reveal the heart and soul of his character.
In the end, the audience cheers Sam's transformation from a decent Joe to a guy who will do what he can to survive in this doggy-dog world.
"Fully Committed" runs through Feb. 17. For ticket information, call (206) 292-7676.