The FSU/Asolo Conservatory's Lobby Hero.
Despite all the tension implied, most of the action takes place offstage, not in the lobby where Jeff works, or loafs (in a convincing design by Rick Cannon). It’s a tribute to Lonergan’s skills with pacing and dialogue that we get drawn into the dilemmas the characters face based solely on their conversations with one another; another playwright might have chosen to show us more of what sparks their conflicts, but Lonergan and director Brendon Foster keep things tightly focused here.
The four cast members, second-year Conservatory students, form a strong unit, with especially nice work by Ragan. His body language, his posture, and his reactions are just right for someone like Jeff, who frequently says or does the wrong thing but is by no means dumb; he just hasn’t found himself yet, and the need to do so is becoming urgent. Proia likewise has the right physical attitude (and New York accent), with a mix of bravado and vulnerability as a female in what’s still mostly a man’s world. The mix of comedy and drama in Lobby Hero is proficient—even if the play does feel a little protracted at times.
Lobby Hero continues through Jan. 22; for tickets call 351-8000 or go to asolorep.org.