The world premiére of “Actually, We’re F**ked” by Matt Williams, is a trifle of a play, an hors d’oeuvre of entertainment, down at Cherry Lane Theatre in Manhattan’s West Village. One attractive millennial couple, Rachel (Mairin Lee) and Nick (Ben Rappaport) host an evening of snacks and snark in their well-appointed, color-coordinated apartment with another attractive millennial couple, Frank (Gabriel Sloyer) and Molly (Keren Lugo). They begin by debating “goodness”: if one has a child, what values can be given to said child to ensure this “goodness,” and where should these values come from? The couples debate the gamut of possibilities: most major religions, climate change, LGBTQ, politics, gender, and India. What they don’t cover is bad behavior in the home, because that has nothing to do with “goodness” and there is no way a cheating spouse could possibly fuck up future offspring.
Could he? Or she?
When we left the theatre, my editor said, “This all sounds strangely familiar.”
“Poor Behavior,” I said.
“Yes!” she said.
We had recently seen Theresa Rebeck’s film, “Poor Behavior” adapted from her play of the same name, which also begins with two attractive couples debating the concept of “goodness” while they’re drinking. But Rebeck’s writing has both savagery and humor. She does not let the audience off the hook with any kind of a happy ending. More to the point, her characters are recognizably flawed, and pay for their “Poor Behavior.” They make others pay, too, as is often the case in real life.
“Actually, We’re F**ked” is more sitcom-ish and all ends well in the end. Granted, it is a comedy. All four cast members are excellent. The apartment, in an indeterminate setting, by Scenic Designer Robin Vest, looks beautiful. It is directed at a nice clip by John Pasquin. As I said, it is a lovely distraction, an amuse-bouche of a play. But imagining these two couples as actual parents? We’re fucked.