April 2005

Everything Will Be Different
by Robert Simonson

There is no beauty in the life of Charlotte, the wretched young protagonist of Mark Schultz's nicely crafted Everything Will Be Different. It all passed from her world with the death of her mythically lovely mother, and left not a trace on her face, at least, that's the opinion of her unforgiving array of friends and school peers, as well as her emotionally shut-down father (the versatile McCann), who openly calls her ugly and an "empty burden." In response, Charlotte creates imaginary comforts: She wrings the tale of Helen of Troy for personal resonance and enters into a series of humiliating relationships that may or may not be real. Schultz is certainly not the first to explore teen-angst themes, but his cleanly written and perversely witty scenes capture the general misery of adolescence. In this, he is greatly aided by Laura Heisler, who, for nearly two hours, performs like something between a raw nerve and an open vein, and manages to be sympathetic even though Schultz has bravely painted his hero as destructive not only to herself but to others. Everything Will Be Different ends on an oddly conciliatory note that, while played smoothly under Daniel Aukin's typically adroit direction, seems somewhat inauthentic in the face of all the grimness that comes before. Nonetheless, it doesn't wholly negate what, until that point, had been an affecting and well- enacted story.

Everthing Will Be Different
By Mark Schultz. Dir. Daniel Aukin. With Laura Heisler, Christopher McCann. Soho Rep (see Off-Off Broadway).