‘Human Error’ closes out Pegasus Theatre Company’s 2018 season

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Darren Sussman
From left, Justin Derry, Christine Perry, Marissa Wolf and Kevin Palardy

Closing out the Pegasus Theatre Company’s 2018 season is “Human Error,” an original play by Eric Pfeffinger.

“Human Error” is described as a political comedy with the “aggressively divisive rhetoric so rife in our society today.”

The play, which was held at the West Windsor Arts Council in Princeton Junction, opens when a couple, Madelyn (Christine Penney) and Keenan (Justin Derry), are sitting at a fertility clinic with their physician, Dr. Hoskins (Peter Reimann). The two seem confused and ask their doctor to repeat himself.

Hoskins – who is a bit out there – tries to avoid repeating himself, until Madelyn becomes angry and he admits the clinic has accidentally placed one of her viable eggs into another woman.

Through another heated discussion, the couple tries to look at all of their options. Seeing as Madelyn is beginning to become older and may neither be able to have nor afford another egg retrieval surgery, they agree to seek out the couple who was implanted with their egg and plead with them to keep the pregnancy, so they will be able to have a child.

The scene changes, and we are now in Keenan and Madelyn’s car as they make their way to the other couple’s house. We find out Keenan and Madelyn have reached out to the pair, who have agreed to sit down and discuss everything.

The two pull up in front of the new couple’s house and begin to discuss their options. Keenan, a black man, notices how nice the neighborhood is and realizes he is getting some stares from the surrounding neighbors. A man comes up to Keenan’s window and asks if they are lost. Keenan explains they are going to the house they are parked in front of and the man introduces himself as Jim (Kevin Palardy), the homeowner.

Jim invites them inside and we are now taken into the home of Jim and his wife, Heather (Marissa Wolf). The couples separate, and Keenan and Jim go off together to get to know one another.

Jim tells Keenan all about himself: how he and Heather have three boys as well as what he does for a living. He brags about how much money he makes and all of the big screen televisions he has in his house, plus his big, shiny truck in the driveway. We can see Jim’s character is a stereotypical American conservative.

Jim then asks Keenan to tell him something about himself. Kennan explains how he works for a research facility, and he and Madelyn enjoy doing The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle together. We can see Keenan’s character is the stereotypical American liberal.

Jim begins to brag about his gun collection and Keenan is caught off-guard. He wants to show Keenan his guns, but Keenan has no desire whatsoever to see them. Jim thinks he is just joking and pulls him out of the room to show him his gunroom.

Now we meet Heather for the first time onstage as she and Madelyn enter the room the men have just left. It’s almost the same conversation Jim and Keenan just had, and we can see how the women have the same views as their significant others.

The one exception is Heather makes it a point to show how religious she is, and how God is a major part of her life.

Jim and Keenan re-enter the room and now the two couples are onstage together for the first time. Heather makes it a point to say both she and Jim really like the both of them, and they have discussed what they want to do moving forward.

We can see immediate fear strike the faces of Keenan and Madelyn as they suspect anyone in their right mind would want to abort an accidental pregnancy – especially one from an in vitro surgery with someone else’s egg.

But they are pleasantly surprised when Heather announces she and Jim would be honored to carry their baby for them.

The two also feel they should get to know Madelyn and Keenan more over the course of the next nine months. Jim and Heather invite them to join their family on their trip to their lake house that summer.

It’s clear Keenan and Madelyn have realized how different Jim and Heather are from themselves and they are very reluctant to join in on a family vacation. However, seeing how Heather has agreed to carry their unborn child, the two agree.

The scene changes once again and we are now at Jim and Heather’s lake house. This scene is very important because we start to see how the two couples put their differences aside and begin to become friends. Though they are from two different worlds and share totally different beliefs, they come together for the life of a child.

But when Madelyn discovers the only reason Heather agreed to carry their child is because she is pro-life, she begins to realize the friendship they have built together was all based off of a belief she does not agree with….

“Human Error” is a very enjoyable production and the story is very timely to the way things are in our current society. Writer Pfeffinger does a great job in taking the two sides our country is at currently and humanizes them in a way that is not only thought-provoking, but humorous, as well.

“Human Error” concluded Pegasus Theatre Company’s 2018 season. Located at the West Windsor Arts Council, 295 Alexander Road, Princeton Junction. For tickets and information regarding their 2019 season, go to www.pegasustheatrenj.org; 609-759-0045.