If “the past is prologue,” what follows for those who are stuck in the past?
In their latest work, playwrights Amy Herzog and Francine Volpe focus on protagonists who are diminished by their past. [More on Herzog’s play after opening on December 18th.]
In Volpe’s “The Good Mother,” at the New Group in the Acorn theater through December 22nd, personal history sets up a pattern of self-destruction and delusion. Larissa (Gretchen Mol) is held back by an infantile crush on her teen counsellor, Joel (Mark Blum.) Larissa exerts her considerable allure to entangle the men in her life in webs of intrigue.
|Mark Blum as Joel and Gretchen Mol as Larissa in “The Good Mother.” Photo by Monique Carboni.|
The pathologically self-absorbed Larissa in “The Good Mother,” willfully provokes a series of incidents that unsettle her peace and comfort. She victimizes Angus (Eric Nelsen), Joel’s troubled son, and leaves him bewildered. After a one-night stand, she calls upon the protective and equally befuddled Jonathan (Darren Goldstein) and then dismisses him.
|Gretchen Mol as Larissa with Darren Goldstein as Jonathan in “The Good Mother.” Photo by Monique Carboni.|
Larissa is a temptress and a user. She doesn’t seem to care that her schemes, like her troubled past, all seem to backfire. It’s easy to see her triumphant smirk from ten rows back as she draws in the long-ago jilted Buddy (Alfredo Narciso.)