There is an adage that luck is what you make it. Having advantages is not the same as being advantaged.
In “The Luck of the Irish,” Kristen Greenidge’s excellent new play at LCT3’s new Claire Tow Theater that just closed March 10th, the well-educated middle class Taylors would seem to be ideal neighbors in a decent suburb of Boston, except for the redlining that keeps black families from buying in to the American dream. The Donovans, poor and uneducated have to ghost buy the property for them.
Patty Ann Donovan’s (Amanda Quaid as the younger and Jenny O’Hara in 2012) mantra “There is an order to things…” is the whine of the overlooked. Dr. Taylor (Victor Williams) and his wife Lucy (the phenomenal Eisa Davis) are sophisticated people. Mrs. Taylor and Patty Ann’s husband, Joe (Dashiell Eaves) are kindred spirits,dreamers lost in a love of words.
The winds of change that Joe foresees in the late 1950s do not serve the Taylor’s granddaughters, Nessa Charles (Carra Patterson) and Hannah Davis (Marsha Stephanie Blake) and her husband Rich (Frank Harts), as they try to negotiate among their neighbors in 2012.
Change takes on a very different form in Annie Baker’s “The Flick,” at Playwrights Horizons through March 31st, when a movie theater in the Worcester environs changes hands.
|Rose (Louisa Krause) with Sam (Matthew Maher) and Avery (Aaron Clifton Moten) in “The Flick” by Annie Baker. Photo by Joan Marcus|
The new owner will take it from celluloid to digital– the wave of the future, but one that has Avery (Aaron Clifton Moten) distressed. The feel and look of film, as he points out, is meant to be on celluloid. His fellow employees are movie buffs also, but they are just working minimum wage jobs. Neither Sam (Matthew Maher) nor Rose (Louisa Krause) share his passion or intensity.
There is nothing wrong wth “The Flick” that some prudent editing couldn’t fix. Many of the pregnant pauses, slow takes and musical transitions, really belong on the cutting room floor.Sam Gold might have done more with his discretion in pacing the play better, Annie Baker could have been more concise.
|Avery (Aaron Clifton Moten) is ever introspective in “The Flick” at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus.|
In “The Madrid,” Liz Flahive’s concise and tightly written new play at Manhattan Theatre Club’s NY City Center Stage I through May 5th, on the other hand, the pacing and structure are really quite perfect. Change is something for which the main character in “The Madrid” yearns, and her family dread.
|Edie Falco, as Martha, the mom gone missing, and Phoebe Strole as her daugher Satah. Photo by Joan Marcus|
“The Madrid” offers an odd point of view, but one that calls for thinking and questioning. Martha (Edie Falco) is a kindergarten teacher who chooses to disappear. She moves to a somewhat derelict apartment near the lovely home she shared with her husband, John (John Ellison Conlee) and their daughter Sarah (Phoebe Strole). Her disappearance is no surprise to her mother, Rose (Frances Sternhagen) who undertakes some desperate measures to bring her back, nor to John. Sarah on the other hand is completely unmoored. She raises to the occasion, moving back to live with her dad, driving her grandmother around, and dealing with the ostreperous neighbors, Danny (Darrne Goldstein) and Becca (Heidi Schreck), who feels the loss of her friend keenly.
Martha, it seems, simply wants a timeout, from the responsibilities of her life. She likes the noise and quiet of her new life, but she misses Sarah.
|John Ellison Conlee as the steady John, Phoebe Strole as Sarah, Frances Sternhagen as Rose. Photo by Joan Marcus.|
For more information about LCT3, which will have another new production in April, visit lct.org
To get tickets and find out more about “The Flick,” please visit playwrights horizons.org
For more information about “The Madrid,” go to http://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/