If The Roommate is a conscious allegory for the decline of Western civilization, or a metaphor for arms buildup or something, then I’m OK with it. If, on the other hand, it is merely the theatrical spectacle of seeing two characters in motion and not knowing how to get them to stop, well, there’s a reason why stage plays are different from cable-TV drapery.
The Roommate starts cute, with a hardened New Yorker showing up at the home of an innocent Iowan woman. They have arranged to become housemates, but one of them is full of secrets and the other is a little eager to change her life so it’s not the smoothest living arrangement.
Tasha Lawrence (whom I remember seeing in the very good national tour of Proof and in Mark Nelson’s great Drama Department revival of June Moon) and Margaret Daly are well cast, and Mike Donahue (who did some exquisite work at the Yale Cabaret when he was at the Yale School of Drama) does some clever, inauspicious blocking that keeps this two-handed looking busy in an arena setting. The wondrous sound design, by Daniel Krueger, lets music grow organically from turntable-scale to room-filling. But the script does not grow by the same dimensions. When a certain ballistic prop gets waved about, you can hear eyes rolling throughout the audience.