FEED THE HOLE, Sideway Theater Company, at American Theater Company. People in their mid-20s often try to sound deep, political, cool, edgy, emotionally in tune--or all of the above. Playwright-director Michael Stock hasn't outgrown that effort yet, as his Feed the Hole makes abundantly clear. Stock's jokes can be funny, and a breakup scene in the second act is intense. But he tries too hard to impress us, just as his young Manhattanites try to impress one another while struggling to find purpose in their dull jobs, unrewarding relationships, and selfish friendships.
Stock uses simulated sex, masturbation, and plenty of dirty talk to spice up the story, about the repercussions one woman's affair has on a group of friends and lovers. But these devices only make us recoil further from these people. Stock's cast don't get beyond letting us recognize their angst-ridden, self-important, self-indulgent characters, and as a result the play's 90 minutes drag. (The sole exception is Andy Hager as an unhappy man harangued by a girlfriend trying to change him.) Ultimately Feed the Hole leaves audiences hungry for something more.