Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


Wendy Wasserstein's new play was virtually sold out before tickets hit the street. Presented in the intimate Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, subscribers gobbled up tickets like pigeons on a pile of breadcrumbs at Fairway on a Sunday afternoon! Fortunately, a few tickets were actually released to the public (cancellations and a final block of tix, i assume). So I, too, gobbled one up last week.

And what a good decision that turned out to be. The play is a contemporary drama staring Diane Weist as an uber-liberal, progressive professor at a small "New England" College (unnamed, of course). What's a play wihtout a twist - - right? What we have going on here is that when a young, cute, straight, jock (he's on the wrestling team) from a "Red State" and aparantly "above average means" (Jason Ritter) comes to campus to "learn and grow" in this ultra liberal environment (this college has the first trans-gender dorm in the country) - she instantly closes HER mind and forms an opinion as to his motives, intelligence, and accuses him of plagerism (he could never have written this - it's too intelligent). Reverse Discrimination from, of all people, a supposed open minded Liberal!

Rounding out the story of her life - which is quickly cascading "out of perspective" is a long time friend/professor dying of cancer at the university (Amy Acquino), a daughter rebelling against her mother's academic and social eliteism (Gaby Hoffmann), and having to deal with a father well into advanced Alzheimer's Disease (Charles Durning).

Performed in several individual scenes with limited sets/scenery - the play moved along quickly, made a few more "political" jabs at the "current administration" than i cared to hear- but when the dialogue is so well written and the actors give such rich performances - you tend to just let those pass. Charles Durning, the father, gave what i thought to be an outstanding performance as an elderly man and all the frustration, confusion, and emotion that comes with the disease.

I won't give away all of Wendy's secrets - but I'll just say that despite all the angst - intellect and self awareness wins out - in many ways.

You can try to run and get a single seat (your best bet) - but don't be disappointed if all those subscribers win out. You'll just end up walking home... and trust me... you should be disapppointed at not getting the chance to see this gem.