Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prayer for My Enemy

Playwright Craig Lucas packs a whole lot of punch into the 1 hour and 40 minute (no intermission) off-Broadway debut of his new work, Prayer for My Enemy.  One might say  - "the kitchen sink" is even in there.   The Noone's have a plethora of problems and complications in their lives - alcoholism, an autistic child, bi-polar disorder, divorce, mild poverty, a gay (or maybe not) son, the Iraq war, and the list of personality "adjustments" that the entire family makes to accommodate all these things.   

Skipp Sudduth blurts out with certitude exactly what he thinks and feels  - about his son, the Iraq war, the failings of his life, and so much more - he's the alcoholic one - a 12 step success for 6 years now - despite his bi-polar disorder and his extreme interest in reptiles and mammal documentaries on TV.  Michele Pawk walks on eggshells trying to hold the family together - always acquiescing, pleasing, pointing out the silver linings - all the while crumbling and tormented inside about her son - Jonathan Groff - the one who's maybe gay - self admittedly effeminate, but he LOVES WOMEN.  He points this out to his childhood friend Tad (Zachary Booth) and the audience early on as the play alternates between dialogue and what Lucas calls "the psychic interior" - all the characters telling the audience what they are thinking but not saying along the way - or are they really saying it?  

But what does Victoria Clark  - an acerbically  bitter woman from Manhattan who loves to escape to the country and is now visiting her dying mother in the hospital - have to do with any of this?  Well, no spoilers here - we'll just say - "loaded gun".

There's a whole lot going on with this family - but I think part of the message Mr. Lucas is trying to pass on is "who's life isn't complicated these days"?