Are Three Tables Enough?

Rieger, Uribes, Liguori. Photo by Jenny Graham.

I’ve been musing about Murray Mednick’s new play since I saw it. It is less a narrative and more of a meditation on holocausts, whether present or future, that reflects on the past and the fragility of life…at least, I think that is what it’s about. Seated around two of three tables, two groups – one younger – are served by service workers at the third table.  One (Richard Sabine) may or may not be a chef; the other, (John Fantasia) a waiter and the only person who can move from group to group.

Conversations eddy from table to table.  At center, Christin {Laura Liguori) holds forth on sex and disappointment, while Rodger (Michael Uribes), her partner, constantly contradicts her, in a sort of typical spousal dance, while Mike (Corey Riegler) seems to be an oblivious third wheel.  One can glean a situation here, but the conversation never extends or resolves, but continues.

There is more cohesion in the conversations amongs the youngsters, Eric Stanton Betts, Raquel Cain and Dennis Renard. They are more playful; however, everyone is unnerved by the ominous knocking that punctuates their conversation and the fact that they are waiting for something is made more ominous by a low level rumble that gradually grows more intrusive, and someone makes the off-hand comment that “no one mentioned the Shoah in the 70s.”

We receive more clues about what is unfolding before us when Table 3 (in the order they are populated) begins to “sing” their dialogues in much the same way that we would hear at a Jewish service.  Finally, we notice that Liguori is wearing a decorative wig; again, much in the same way that orthodox women cover their heads with wigs to hide their real hair by overlaying it with one that is fake.  All of this come to a head when it appears that the room has been breached, and, in a frenzy, Liguori snatches the wig from her head as she cowers in terror.

Then, almost without warning, the dialogues end, the lights go out, and we are suddenly left adrift to recover on our own — alone.

It is only fitting to acknowledge the diligent backstage work that helped make this experience so disturbing.  Joel Daavid’s matter-of-fact scene design and Azra King-Abadi’s lighting belie the mounting menace created by John Zalewski’s sound and music design, while Shon LeBlanc’s period-neutral costuming places us in a never-never land as past collides with present.  It is a bleak look at the human condition, and one that we must ponder.

Three Tables continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; and Sundays at 3 pm through May 22nd. Tickets, $25.00, available online at