The Flick and the Little Owl

The Flick is set in a small cinema in Worcester, Massachusetts, with three complex characters in low-paying jobs: two male ushers and a woman with green hair who runs the reel-to-reel projection booth. The new usher Avery (Kyle Beltran) is black, sensitive, a student and cinephile living with a father who teaches at Clark University. Rose (Nicole Rodenburg), the projectionist, shares an apartment, is in default on college debt, and rarely makes eye contact. Maybe it’s the script or the director’s fault, but Rose remains an island even when she comes on to one of her co-workers.

The usher Sam, age thirty-five, lives at home and is the unselfconscious type who stands with his mouth open while he thinks. Sam, too, is a cinephile, who believes Avatar was a great movie. Danny Wolohan is courageously real and stunning in the role, even as he wrings out the mop in a bucket and scrubs the floor. What a sensational actor.

The well-lit set is perfect, with worn pink seats, ugly gold and brown walls, and stained, white pebbled ceiling panels. It is ambitious in this era of speed to do a long-format play, and Annie Baker’s creative risk lead to a deserved Pulitzer Prize. At three hours with intermission, The Flick is longer than a movie. Baker tortures her audience a bit with the frequent sweeping up of popcorn off the floor, and the scaly rash on one of her characters’ neck and back, and the many real-time pauses. Darkness contrasts with light-hearted music from François Truffaut’s Jules and Jim. 

The meatball slider at the Little Owl
The Little Owl, with blue awnings, is on an idyllic corner of the West Village. The food is justly celebrated, prices are fairly moderate, and portions are righteous. The petite hamburger (or slider, if you insist) is kind of exquisite, with fennel notes. Seasonal basil gnocchi was in a meat accented fresh tomato sauce. Truffle risotto is heady, with an organic egg yolk on top. The fresh tasting crabcake is served on crunchy greens in champagne vinaigrette. Signature dishes are the pork chop and lamb chops grilled in honey barbeque. One of the desserts is light beignets served with nutella and raspberry sauces. Our only complaint was that the rhubarb crisp wasn't crispy enough. Otherwise the Little Owl treated us wisely. Book in advance.

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