What kind of memoir would the story of your life make for? The new play "Verité" by "Orange is the New Black" writer Nick Jones explores one woman's journey in getting her memoir published. Contributing critic David Cote of Time Out New York filed this review.
They say truth is stranger than fiction, but what if the story of your life needs serious spice? In “Verité,” a mix of satire and psychodrama from playwright Nick Jones, a struggling novelist tries to make her daily existence worthy of publication.
Played by the winsome Anna Camp, Jo is New Jersey wife and mother with a fantasy novel she’s been laboring over for years. When a Norwegian publisher calls Jo for an interview, she thinks it is to finally publish it. Instead, the somewhat creepy Sven and Andreas want Jo to write a memoir, even though her life is rather uneventful. They drop hints that she should make behavioral choices to make the story interesting, and we’re off on a contrived but amusing series of missteps that result in Jo shacking up with a stranger in Bogota, Colombia. Are Jo’s editors manipulating her remotely? Or is Jo utterly delusional? Nick Jones plays out the darkly wacky situation, keeping us guessing about who is fooling whom. The cast is full of sturdy comic actors, including Danny Wolohan as Jo’s long-suffering husband, Jeanine Serralles as a brassy sister-in-law and a touchingly low-key and earnest Eben Moss-Bachrach as Anna’s shady paramour. If there is a weakness in the play, it is that the premise wears thin after an hour, and Jo’s character is too passive for us to invest very deeply in her literary follies. Similarly, Jones does not seem clear whether he is after grotesque satire or something more humane and plausible.
Verité is the sort of art-imitating life confection that makes critics name-check Pirandello and Borges, even if such comparisons are not really flattering.