Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Break of Noon

Neil LaBute's new play is vague.  Was I supposed to walk away thinking this guy was a a phony?  He faked it?  Or was I supposed to walk away snickering to myself about how awful society is and how if one man claims to have found religion, we rebuke him?  Well, to tell the truth, I, along with several heretofore unacquainted theatergoers, I walked away asking for the 100 minutes we invested back.

David Duchovny (John Smith) was flatter than a penny after being run over by the #1 train.  I couldn't tell what he was trying to emote.  The two ladies in the cast turned in decent but generally unremarkable performances - Amanda Peet (Ginger/Jesse) and Tracee Chimo (Jenny/Gigi).  The only actor who impressed was John Earl Jelks (Lawyer/Detective).  He had a presence and a power on stage that none of the other actors seemed to be able to summon.  Peet, as Jesse, came close near the end but the poorly directed character she was playing just got in the way.  Great Long Island accent, however.  

So, I'm wondering the whole time what LaBute was trying to convey here - and along comes this last, incongruous scene where we are presumed to be watching John go "evangelist" to get his message out - and it ends with him levitating.  Levitating?  WTF?

The play was in that dump, The Lucille Lortel Theatre, in the gay ghetto on Christopher Street, which didn't serve to improve my mood any either.  I wouldn't rush out to see this one.  Unless you need a nap in a bad seat.  Don't worry, the play won't wake you.