LakeArts Foundation

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TOO CLOSE -- A Play by Luigi Laraia at HB Studio, New York City September 13, 14, 15, 2018

LakeArts Foundation

“Too Close is a pointed vision of our modern technology-driven life, its successes and its considerable failures. Tense, resonant, riveting, on stage or off, the play shines a light on how far we have come—and how much further we have to go.”  -- Amanda Shaw

“This is pure Rod Serling, or Rod Serling salted with a bit of Samuel Beckett.” -- Tim Treanor

“In true Hitchcockian style, the author sets the play in an everyday space and invites the audience to share it with the actors...” “Claustrophobic, gripping, relevant.  -- Capital Fringe Festival

PR Guru and Climate Change activist David Fenton says, “The problem with communicating the problem of climate change is that you can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t hear it.”  

Or maybe you can…    You are invited to experience it for yourself as you are trapped in an elevator on the 39th floor of a high rise building- already your worst fear.  As the days wear on and your small world is facing depletion of resources- of food, of water, space, light and air until ultimately, you are fighting for your life in the emotional fear of survival.

The play, TOO CLOSE is a parable about climate change and its impact on two unsuspecting individuals trapped in an elevator in a modern-day high rise.  At its simplest level, it is a microcosm of a world in which depletion of resources leads to the inhumanity of man against man, and nothing in the play prepares you for its shocking outcome.

TOO CLOSE demonstrates the power of theatre to inspire, activate and make change in the world around us.

Presented at the HB Studios, the evening will also feature leading environmentalists, scientists, and climate change activists who will discuss the global impact of climate change as it begins to affect our daily lives and ultimately the relationships within our community. 


After winning the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, DC, TOO CLOSE was performed at Earth Day and World Environment Day at the InterAmerican Development Bank and at Connect4Climate at the World Bank.

Celia Wren, The Washington Post

An odd-couple pairing takes a grim turn in “Too Close,” Luigi Laraia’s parable about technology’s effects on the planet. Anthony Keller (Dan Owen) and Dylan Salles (Richard Tanenbaum) are a philosophical and temperamental mismatch: The former is a hyper-rationalist environmental engineer who idealizes science, and the latter is a dweeby history professor who believes in the power of love and the triumph of the human spirit. In another play, the two would trade amusingly barbed quips en route to a reluctant but firm

friendship.  But in Laraia’s smart, intense, depressing two-hander, Keller and Salles are strangers who, finding themselves stuck in an elevator in a modern high-rise, distract themselves with talk that amounts to a now-joking, now-entreating, now-brutal war of ideas. 

Days pass and no rescuers appear. Amidst rationed sips of water and the canny skirting of personal secrets (which eventuallyemerge), the conversation touches on topics that include Marx, Einstein, the cathedral builders of the Middle Ages, the joys of mountain climbing, and the poetry of Dylan Thomas. Bursts of levity and panic buffet the characters periodically; despite the isolation of his characters and the stark setting, despite the isolation of his characters and the stark setting, Laraia has given his scenes a commendable range of moods

Tim Treanor, DC Theatre Scene

Two men get onto an elevator. Anthony Keller (Daniel Owen) is a restrained, self-controlled man, an environmental engineer who routinely engineers his own environment. Dylan Salles (Dr. Richard Tanenbaum) is a history professor with a penchant for self-revelation — or, to a certain degree, self-fabrication. They set the elevator for the 39th floor.  And then the elevator lurches to a stop.  Baffled, the two men try phone calls, texting, emails. But nothing works, since they are,as Anthony points out, trapped in a steel box. They cannot pry the doors open. No one responds to the alarm.

The hours pass. The men grow more desperate. They begin to discuss their theories of the impact of society upon progress, and vice versa. They talk about themselves —Anthony’s faith in science, the medical crisis which Dylan’s daughter faces, the insubstantiality of loneliness, the insubstantiality of love..

The play’s uncredited technical is spot-on, especially in capturing the lurching sounds of an elevator in crisis. (“We apologize for the delay,” a pre-recorded voice says at one point, after they had been trapped for days.)