Review: Sinan Beskok's MARGARINE is creatively candid

Monday Night Playwright at Theatre 3: 


By Sinan Beskok
Directed by Tyler Baker
Produced by Theatre 3

Reviewed by Jenny Wood

Once a month, Theatre 3 makes their smaller Theatre Too space available for local playwrights to host staged readings of their new or in-development works. The offering is appropriately titled Monday Night Playwright, and provides two days in the space: one day for rehearsal and one day for invited audiences to attend the staged reading. 

For the month of March, Sinan Beskok presented his script Margarine, a darkly comedic discussion of intergenerational social mobility. 

Directed by Tyler Baker, the cleanly staged presentation featured well developed readings by the cast of characters: 

JANE - John's Prom Date

JOHNATHAN - Jane's Prom Date

CHRISTIE - John's Mother

DARCY - John's Father

EHTEL - John's Grandmother

MARIA - The Family’s Chef

WADSWORTH - The Family’s Driver/Watchman

The thing with staged readings of new works is that as an audience member, you never quite know what you’re getting into. To draw focus to the words and rhythm of the script, blocking is intentionally minimal. Usually, as was done for Margarine, actors read from scripts set on music stands, relying heavily on voices and curated gestures to give life to their characters. 

So you have to listen - to the stage directions, the lines, the sound effects. In listening, I picked up notes of "Gilmore Girls," "Knives Out," a little bit of "On Becoming A God in Central Florida." 


We open in Act 1 at a family dinner. Johnathan and Jane are eager to finish and leave for prom, Johathan’s parents think Jane is someone she is not. Johnathan surprises Jane with a specially themed limo, but it’s also GrandMaMa’s birthday, so various events prevent the couple from making a timely exit. All of the action occurs around the dining table. The end-of-act blackout comes as the cake is being served. 

Act 2 covers the same time frame, but from the kitchen. Mostly a conversation between Maria and Wadsworth, Beskok uses this act to flesh out bits of the family history hinted at in Act 1. The scene reinforces the foundation laid in Act 1, and successfully supports the consequences presented in Act 3. 

As alluded to in my “Knives” and “Central Florida” references above, there are many “shocking” or “egregious” events depicted. But you don’t get the feeling the lines were written for shock-value. Rather, they are presented with complete sincerity - a “this is normal” vibe that recognizes that while the play may seem absurd on its face, it’s an artistically heightened depiction of things that do actually happen in society. Whether the character’s actions are heinous, acceptable, funny, or believable will wholly depend on your personal life experience. 

Difficult topics discussed with tastefully bright humor. 

The script is smart and funny, and - I think - makes its point. Are there lines I would revise for clarity, and a couple jokes that could be tighter or less heavy handed? Sure. But Beskok provided a QR code to an aftershow survey, so I’ll save those thoughts for that venue.

I’m not quite sure where Margarine is in its development pipeline, but if I saw it listed on a Fringe or FIT roster, I’d buy a ticket. 



Audience Rating: PG13 - Dark Humor, Violence, Gunshots

Run Time: 2 hours 

Accessible Seating: Available 

Hearing Devices: Available

Sensory Friendly Performance: Not Available

ASL Performance: Not Available

Production Sound Level: Appropriate.

Noises or Visuals to Prepare For: None of Note