Member Dramatists Guild and The Drama League.
Many of the current virtual plays being produced are thrown together and seem willy nilly, however, ” Adjust the Procedure” was written for and directed for virtual theater. In its efforts, Jake Shore makes better work of it than the virtual as usual style I have seen so far. Set on a university campus somewhere in lower Manhattan, New York (the play mentions Chamber Street); there are four characters, all of whom are affiliated with the university. These four characters have different personalities which adds to the many different positions that they take. The play is set in Zoom meetings with sometimes two characters, other times three actors and for a brief period, with all four being on the call. The crux of the play shows us the inner workings of a university; how universities are a very big business. With the COVID pandemic, we see four different points of view as how to deal with the many problems this pandemic has caused.
In Kyle (Adam Files) we see a professor who is hoping to get tenured. As a former adjunct professor, Kyle is bitter about the academia and the way some teachers are treated. Kyle has a deep understanding of the system, yet he is always bucking with that very system that employs him. After losing a student to an apparent suicide, and even more students to deportation, Kyle is perturbed at both his school and the people that run it. It seems that the Health and Wellness Center at the school has been outsourced and this has caused many problems with the student body, yet it saves the university money by doing it.
Jake Shore who wrote and directed this play brings forth many of the problems people feel during this crisis; some people blame the politicians; others blame the boredom of everyday life under the pandemic. Shore banters about these issues through the eyes of not only the four characters but by their different points of view. For the most part the characters are not known for being liberal nor conservative but by being pro university or not being so. While we get the impression that the Dean, Frank (Ed Altman) is more conservative than Kyle, the politics are never front and center in this play.
In the era of virtual theater, “Adjust the Procedure” is a decent play. Not without its flaws, (the story can be slow at times and the actors being remote are limited in their movements), Jake Shore does a better job writing the play than directing it. While Frank is more animated, he still struggles to be believable; Nicholas Miles Newton’s, (Ben) less is more character works better here. While it is difficult to project a true acting style on virtual theater, Megan Moses delivers a direct yet mysterious tone too her role. While “Adjust the Procedure” has some flaws, it is the best virtual piece I have seen so far.