Origin stories are so in these days. From that green girl on Broadway to Norman Bates and Hannibal Lector on TV, the list goes on. But ever wonder what the "SNL"’s bffs were like before they hit the big time? In SixTee Collective’s Tina & Amy: Last Night in Paradise, we get a glimpse of the funny ladies and roommates Amy Poehler and Tina Fey before Tina leaves for her new life as a Saturday Night Live writer. It should be immediately noted that the story is, for the most part, fictional. This is not what really happened. What Gregory Maguire did for “Wicked”, SixTee Collective did for the dynamic duo of comedy.
If you read your program before the show begins, you’ll be able to accept the play for what it is: a play about friendship and growing up and not actually completely about Amy and Tina. They are simply the pop culture place holders that draw you to see the show. For those who feel doped that you didn’t get the real origin story of the Weekend Update anchors, these ladies got your butt in the seat, so SixTee Collective- 1, you- 0. With all that out of the way, watching a friendship dissolve before your eyes is heartbreaking. It’s natural. How could you not be happy yet sad for your best friend to travel across the country for a great opportunity? In order to savor one last night together, Amy convinces Tina to write their last great sketch together. What we get is a series of scenes and skits that showcase some superb acting. Maria Gllhooley did an outstanding job nailing a young Tina Fey. Antonia Lassar brought the energy of Amy Poehler we know and love. What did not work was the bizarre moment of meta theater. When the show stops and they break character, seeing the actresses as themselves, you do discover the parallels they were attempting to tell in their story. It just, unfortunately, stopped any momentum previously gained.
As far as balance within the play, director Nikki DiLoreto found the right moments for humor and the right moments for sentiment. Reality is, these two are probably not always going for the laugh. They have feelings too. As far as staging, there were a lot of repetitive clothes touching while Tina was “packing.” With not a single article of clothing being put in a suitcase, it felt as if it was busy stage business. To add to the comedy, the clothes wanted to be packed and more wanted to be revealed. An endless flow of clothing would have alleviated and forgave the repetition.
Tina & Amy: Last Night in Paradise is a play about friendship and a good reminder that the most solid friendships can last through the hardest change. As they say, “If you love something let it go. If it comes back, its yours forever.” Go see this play and then go give your friends a hug.