Making reservations at a restaurant is an unavoidable necessity in today’s hectic world.
For many who work long hours, the concept of returning home to prepare a meal holds little-to-no appeal.
Dining out has become an increasingly more tempting means of providing an escape from the day’s pressure.
To be seen at the finest restaurants has also become a status symbol of sorts.
As a result, making a reservation can almost be as frustrating as a busy workday.
Ever imagine what life might be like on the other end of the phone?
Becky Mode’s Fully Committed offers the audience a humorous glance at the not-so-glamorous life of a restaurant reservationist.
Essentially, “Fully Committed” is a one-man show with multiple personalities.
Sam, played with tremendous energy by Kraig Swartz, is a struggling actor and reservationist for one of Manhattan’s most desirable restaurants.
His job involves much more than merely taking a call and writing in a book.
It’s more like the plate-twirling novelty acts on The Ed Sullivan Show.
His position requires him to mollify and coddle many, who are often legends in their own minds and frequently insist on the fulfillment of their every wish.
For Sam, meeting their demands is regularly a real challenge.
Requests for a particular table on an already overbooked Saturday, or for someone to sing “The Lady is a Tramp” at a planned anniversary dinner, are only the beginning of Sam’s trouble.
The restaurant is short-staffed, and he is the only one available to answer the phones, which rarely cease ringing.
In addition to the socialites, wannabes and celebrities, Sam must also deal with the entire staff, who appear to all be in dire need of therapy.
Everyone turns to Sam to fix any given situation, even if it’s not in his job description.
The most infuriating and demanding individual on staff is the chef.
A culinary diva, he has his own hotline to the reservation area and seems to spend more time making life difficult for Sam than he does preparing food.
With “Fully Committed,” Mode provides a colorful collection of sweet and sour characters, And Swartz brings a unique flavor to each and every one of them, with his brilliant performance.
A combination of swift lighting cues and Swartz’s incredible vocal and physical transformations make each character memorable.
Among the callers is socialite Bunny Vandervere, Mr. Rappaport (a sweet soul from Sam’s hometown), the obnoxious Carol Ann Rosenstein-Fishburne, and Bryce, assistant to Naomi Campbell.
Bryce provides one of many great laughs in the show when conveying his client’s insistence that the light is too harsh at her favorite table.
He informs Sam that someone from her staff will be arriving shortly to install more flattering halogen bulbs.
Some of the calls involve Sam himself.
It is through the calls from his father and brother that we witness the sweetness of his soul.
The calls received from a co-worker who misses his shift convey Sam’s kindness.
Calls to his agent also reveal that Sam is a struggling actor who didn’t expect to toil so long in the restaurant business.
If only a callback could rescue him from his phone purgatory.
“Fully Committed” runs Tuesday – Sunday, until Nov. 17, at Plays & Players Theater, located at 1714 Delancey St. Tickets are $30 – $45, with discounts for students, seniors and groups.
Call the UpStages Box Office at 215-569-9700 or visit www.phillytheatreco.com for more information.
Michael Castaldo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.