by Michael Lazan

Roland Tec shows that, without question, he is a playwright with considerable promise in this presentation of "Rapt," a surreal corporate fable about an executive who devastates lives in the furtherance of his affair with a young woman.

The setup is farfetched -- and ultimately unworkable -- even though the play keeps your interest throughout. Stryker is the burly, hyper-confident head of a very large company who wants to arrange for a long-time affair with the lovely Carly. As a result, Stryker arranges for his subordinate, Suzanne, a hyper-aggressive personnel director, to blackmail the hapless Donald into marrying Carly so as to secure Carly's place in Stryker's world. In fact, it's not so clear why Stryker couldn't just maintain his relationship with Carly in any event, which is the play's fatal flaw.

Nevertheless, Tec has a way of writing very exciting material, teasing the audience, and providing scenes brimming with quiet sadism a bit reminiscent of Pinter. As we watch Suzanne intimidate Donald into marriage, and especially during an early scene when Suzanne upbraids Donald as a result of his going to the bathroom too much, the effect is hilarious and unsettling. The characters are fully imagined, too, including Suzanne's disabled husband, Frank, who seems to have been engulfed by the corporation as much as the others have been.

Tec also directed, and he did a fine job, as his actors created memorable portrayals with humor and menace. Driving the play was Lisa Barnes' well-played Suzanne, somehow human underneath it all. Carl Palmer was funny and sad as Donald. Tom Bozell isplayed considerable presence as Stryker, Cori Lynn Campbell was smooth and seductive as Carly and Bill Tobes was moving as Frank.

Drew Donovan's stylish mult-level set provides an escellent backdrop for these proceedings.