Hansol Jung’s Merry Me, now making its world premiere at New York Theatre Workshop, belongs in the latter category. This comedic casserole borrows ingredients from ancient Greek drama, Restoration comedy, and Tony Kushner, yet somehow feels less than the sum of its parts. This is despite some very funny performances and a zippy DIY staging from director Leigh Silverman — both of which reveal the undercooked qualities of the script.
It’s about Lieutenant Shane Horne (Esco Jouléy), who has been in therapy with Doctor Jess O’Nope (Marinda Anderson) ever since she was caught sleeping with the General’s Wife (Cindy Cheung). As punishment, General Memnon (David Ryan Smith) placed Horne in solitary confinement; but he has a change of heart when it looks as though this alpha-lesbian has gone straight — as evidenced by her public make-out session with the brother-in-law of the General’s nepo-baby son, Private Willy Memnon (Ryan Spahn). The only problem is, the “brother-in-law” is actually Willy’s wife, Sapph (Nicole Villamil), in boy drag. Jealousy and lust overtake the camp as the army prepares for an invasion.