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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Jobsite shows funny side to thoughts of suicide in ‘All New People’

Poor Charlie just wants to end it all, but he finds suicide is not going to be an easy task in the dark comedy “All New People,” in the Shimberg Playhouse at the Straz Center.

This 2011 play was penned by Zach Braff, who is best known for his role as bumbling medical intern John Dorian on “Scrubs,” and it plays like a clever situation comedy.

This production by the Jobsite Theater is set in an upscale vacation home on the deserted Jersey Shore in the dead of winter.

The play opens with Charlie, age 35, frustrated with love and life, literally at the end of his rope. He has come to a friend’s summer home to hang himself. But his secretly planned exit is interrupted by three unwelcome quests: a real estate agent, a local firefighter and a female escort hired by one of Charlie’s friends to cheer him up.

“He is contemplating suicide, and this is a comedy,” says director Paul J. Potenza. “There is a whole lot of funny stuff that goes on, but also this is a story about four people who might be considered lost in their lives.

Suicidal Charlie is portrayed by Chris Holcom; Meg Heimstead is Emma, a daffy British woman and real estate agent who believes that her arrival was divine intervention; Jack Holloway plays Myron, a firefighter called in by Emma to help save Charlie. And Katie Castonguay is Kim, the escort.

As the play unfolds, the audience learns why Charlie has come to this point as well as what happened in the lives of the other characters.

“It’s a very entertaining play, and a relatively new one,” says Potenza.

Potenza, who has acted in and directed numerous productions, says he is the longest running member of Jobsite, having directed and starred in the first production “Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” in 2004.

Potenza has worked other Bay-area theater companies including Eckerd Theater Company, The Loft Theater, Tampa Players, Stageworks, freeFall and American Stage.

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