'Completeness': Academic analysis, overanalyzed
Documenting the romance of a molecular biologist and a computerscientist as if it were a lab report, “Completeness,” at PlaywrightsHorizons, is too complete for its own good.
Documenting the romance of a molecular biologist and a computer scientist as if it were a lab report, “Completeness,” at Playwrights Horizons, is too complete for its own good. That’s a shame, since Itamar Moses’ comedy has genuine appeal, populated with intelligent, involving characters winningly spouting scientific jargon. If only they knew when to stop.
Graduate students Molly (Aubrey Dollar) and Elliot (Karl Miller) love what they do. They also love to talk about it. And when they do so they’re fascinating — at first. Their discourses are reasonably accessible but still challenging enough that you have to pay close attention or risk getting lost.
But before you get lost, you’ll probably get bored. They ramble on with no discernible destination in sight. Their academic analysis inevitably lapses into haziness and ends up soporific, since it goes on for so long. And when Molly and Elliot aren’t talking science they like to analyze — to death — their relationship, following the same pattern: interesting insights followed by labored navel-gazing to the point that you just don’t care.
Dollar and Miller are an engaging couple, ably supported by Meredith Forlenza and Brian Avers in multiple roles. But they can’t pull together a play with dialogue so unbridled. A breakdown of the fourth wall toward the end of the second act, in which Forlenza and Miller address the audience, offers little help. It comes out of nowhere and goes to the same place.