Michael C. Pierce, Actor - SAG/AFTRA

"...like hot green tea on a cold, rainy morning."
New York Newsday
A Rousing Time in "Drinking Games"

-By Jan Stuart

You have to see the place to believe it, and- in its own upstart way, the play. The place- a time-ravaged, 1849 synagogue that's been inhabited by a feisty art theatre cooperative called Teach A Dog. The Norfolk St. Synagogue has exposed brick, decayed wooden beams, high vaulted ceilings, peeling paint and commemorative plaques engraved in Hebrew on the foyer wall.

What you actually hear is the hubbub of an East Village Bar, the setting of James Edwin Parker's “Drinking Games.” The drama suggests what the group theatre must have been like at its most ardent, most naive. It’s a plucky, utterly black and white social drama that pits wicked yuppie real estate magnates against struggling downtown denizens they're squeezing out. The dramaturgy is as transparent as it is lively. Characters are established with a bold idee-fixe spilled onto stage like crash cars at an amusement park.

Director Joe Hayes maintains a fluid traffic pattern as conversations overlap and bump into each other and the attractive cast seems to be having a ball. Parker has a flair for colorful throwaways, but the broad strokes with which he’s painted his antagonist emerge like blotches on a naturalistic canvas; you half expect the yuppies to fly out on broomsticks. It’s never boring though. Parker keeps pitching all of his barflies back into the game and the youthful actors give it everything they’ve got.

Paul Rice, Mick Zezima and Michael C. Pierce in James Edwin Parker's New York City production of "Drinking Games."