These days, say “Tina and Amy” and immediately a comedic pair pop into your head – no last names or context necessary. No “Tina Fey from …” or “You know, they hosted the …” Yeah. None of that. Which, of course is exactly why all funny little girls with funny little best friends now have a gold standard to strive for the way boys throughout the ages had in, say, Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello or Lewis and Martin … or the endless boys club duos who have followed.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler certainly aren’t the first funny women in history – not by a long shot. Their careers were made off the backs of comic geniuses such as early TV pioneers like Lucille Ball and Gracie Allen. But countless women on SNL who weren’t Gilda Radner or Jane Curtin could point to post-Saturday Night careers littered with bit parts, long dry spells between roles, and blank looks at the mention of their names. (Ellen Cleghorne anyone? Melanie Hutsell? Nothing?) So Tina and Amy are more than just two funny women. They’re astronauts.
Before they slipped the surly bonds of earth, however, Tina and Amy were just two funny gals with the same issues and “isms” and fears and dreams that any other girls have before their lives fully unfold. In SixTee Collective’s Tina and Amy: Last Night in Paradise Antonia Lassar and Maria Gilhooley play fast and loose with the truth in order to present their dream version of what it must have been like for these two comedic icons on their last night together before Tina Fey (Gilhooley) went to New York to write for Saturday Night Live leaving her bestie, Amy Poehler (Lassar) to fend for herself.
When we first come upon Tina and Amy they’re hosting the Golden Globes – hilariously – and in their living room. It’s both a seemingly typical exercise as well as a stall tactic to keep Tina from getting to the immediate task at hand: packing and getting the hell out of Chicago so that she can go begin her career at SNL. Amy has no such offers. The rest of the show is a push and pull as Tina works to get her clothes in the suitcase, her ducks in a row, and her butt out the door in time to make her flight that will take her to her new life. Amy, on the other hand is doing everything in her power to knock this plan off track. She insists on finishing a sketch the two began a long time ago and Lassar’s delivery is winning. Gilhooley is also perfect as an over-stressed, nervous, excited Fey – tempering everything with just the right mixture of anticipation as well as wistfulness for the moments she can already see becoming unimportant. This is a fine line to play – for both actresses – and the chemistry between them as well as their devotion to the piece brings out many shining moments that work extremely well.
What Tina and Amy showcases is the fear of a friendship falling apart when one half of a dynamic duo moves on and the other doesn’t. ”Moving on” can mean different things: a partner, a family, or a writing gig at SNL, but when one woman gets it and the other doesn’t it threatens the synergy which has worked so well for so long. So, call it Tina and Amy or call it Antonia and Maria, the subtext is “don’t stop remembering how much you care about me. Together we are better than we are apart. Together we’ll do great things”.
Under co-creator Nikki DiLoreto’s direction Gilhooley and Lassar haul out every dream vehicle they can drum up in order to experience the joy of channeling their role models while simultaneously parading out their own comedic chops. And since this entire play is fictional every thing is fair game.
This does not always service the plot, however.
Despite the obvious talent of these two finely funny actresses who can turn from hilarious to heartbreaking on a dime, the production suffers when their real friendship is explored in a ‘halt-the-show’device. While this explains their connections to the story line, gives us a peek into their back-story and allows us a moment to interact with them personally, this isn’t something that couldn’t have been dealt with in the program notes. As it stands currently it completely breaks the pacing taking the audience out and then dropping them back into Paradise a bit too abruptly. Is the story of Lassar and Gilhooley an important one? Perhaps. However fleshing it out a bit more and dropping it in at other junctures might make it less of a non sequitur, though that might mean foregoing some of the (albeit fictional) story of Tina and Amy. Nevertheless, It would deepen the story of these two women who easily could be their successors – so famous that one day they do not need last names.
So while this show may have been Tina and Amy’s Last Night In Paradise I don’t think by any means it’s the last we’ll see of Antonia and Maria.
Tina And Amy: Last Night In Paradise
Company: SixTee Collective
Directed by: Nikki DiLoreto
Mar 07, 10:15PM
Mar 08, 6:50PM
Click HERE for tickets
Running time: 1 h 0 min
Price: $10.00 – $16.00
Seating: General Admission
UNDER St Marks
94 St Marks Place
New York , New York 10009
1st Ave and Ave A
Horse Trade Theater Group will present the 8th Annual FRIGID New York Festival at The Kraine Theater (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Avenue and Avenue A) February 19-March 9. Tickets are available for purchase in advance at www.FRIGIDnewyork.info or by calling 212-868-4444.