Each of us experiences grief and healing in different ways.
In Donald Margulies’ The Country House, a world premiere in its last days at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (closing November 23rd), a family gathers to commemorate and mourn.
It’s been a year since Katherine died young and her mother, Anna Patterson (Blythe Danner) is hosting a memorial. Susie Keegan (Sarah Steele) is the first to arrive at her grandmother’s house; she is sharp-witted and funny, but shocked that Anna has invited more than just immediate family.
Susie is mortified that her father, Walter (David Rasche), a Hollywood director, has arrived with his fiancee, Nell McNally (Kate Jennings Grant). Anna, a renowned actress who will be starring in a Williamstown production later in the summer, has also asked Michael Astor (Daniel Sunjata) to stay a few days while his apartment is fumigated. Michael, who plays a doctor on a long-running television series, is in Williamstown to do a revival of a comedy. He is the object of much envy, especially from Elliott Cooper (Eric Lange), Anna’s surviving child and a failed performer, Michael, handsome and successful, is also an object of considerable desire.
Blythe Danner’s performance is natural and superb, but Sarah Steele, with her perfectly timed delivery and mastery of repartee, almost steals the show. Not so fast, almost. In this exceptional well-honed ensemble, no one stands out for long. Eric Lange is thoroughly obnoxious and pathetic as the hapless Elliott should be; his pain distances him from everyone. Each of these characters gets to luxuriate in and reveal their humanity.
Under Daniel Sullivan’s directon, The Country House moves seamlessly from comedy to tragedy — working both sides of the street flawlessly. Margulies’ script for The Country House is rich and meaty.
Make your visit to The Country House before it closes on November 23rd. For more information and tickets, go to http://thecountryhousebway.com/