“I Could Say More” at the Hudson Guild Theatre

January 14, 2014 | Off-Broadway
Written and Directed by Chuck Blasius
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

Billed as a “the tale of a modern family,” “I Could Say More” is primarily the tale of a train wreck of a summer weekend (and a fast forward to its fall conclusion) shared by the newly-married hosts Carl (Chuck Blasius) and Drew (Brett Douglas), their adopted son Jason (Brandon Smalls) and a smorgasbord of family, friends, and their assorted mates. If one defines “modern family” as infidelity, rancor, jealousy, homophobia, and unhappiness incarnate then Mr. Blasius’ new play is about the nature of the modern family. Hopefully, however, the future of the American family is far from what “I Could Say More” attempts to portray.

It is difficult to discern what the playwright was hoping to accomplish in this two-act play. The characters, though clearly defined, are uninteresting (except for Jason the adopted son) and their conflicts and problems are equally banal leaving a thin trail of driven plot. Even the act one discussion of the dead body washed up on the Long Island coast close to the summer rental beach – revisited mysteriously in act two – is pointless. The audience, assuming this to be a streak of interesting foreshadowing is left – like the play itself – with no resolution.

Perhaps most troubling is the main character Carl whose understandings of marriage and parenthood are as appalling as his manners as a host. Carl has been with Drew for fifteen years and their recent marriage certainly has not solidified a caring and committed relationship. Carl is in love with his husband’s drug-addled brother Phil (Grant James Varjas), constantly ignores and belittles his adopted son Jason and treats all of his guests with utter disdain. When one of his guests comments on how well Jason is getting along with her boyfriend Joe, the following dialogue occurs:

LILA: The two of them are really hitting it off.
CARL: Who?
LILA: Jason and Joe. Maybe you should have a straight man around the house more often.
CARL: You didn’t just say that.

There is much more like that. In a discussion with Drew about Dyson’s “grand theft auto” incident (taking a car without permission to visit the Eagle Bar ten miles away), Carl wonders:

CARL: Can you blame him for wanting to get away from all of us? I’d do it myself, but I don’t know where I’d go.
PHIL: Oh, haven’t there been enough games?
CARL: Ha. Said the emcee.

Indeed there is much game playing in Mr. Blasius’ play and the audience often wonders if there were someplace they could go to get away from all of the play’s characters. The ensemble cast does its best to bring their characters to life and cannot be blamed for whatever has gone wrong. This critic could say more; however, it is enough to say that it is difficult to write, direct, and act in a play and Mr. Blasius’ attempt to do all three in “I Could Say More” is without the success he surely intended.