Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling

As I was leaving Adam Rapp's new play being presented by the Atlantic Theater Company at the Classic Stage Company's stage while they undergo a major renovation project on their own stage in Chelsea (the show must go on...), I was reminded of a simple little saying that a dear friend of mine and I have been repeating for for  many years now.  It goes something like this:   "You know, , there's something wrong with everyone".   Simple.  Accurate.  Apropos.

Mr. Rapp's obvious distaste for the ultra wealthy, wall street philanderers, and general ostentatious-ness of the wealth and power in the state of Connecticut (or otherwise) could not be more obvious.  Christine Lahti (Sandra Cabot), Reed Birney (Dr. Bertram Cabot), Cotter Smith (Dirk Von Stofenberg), and Betsy Aidem (Celeste Von Stofenberg) form a double power couple tag team of wealthy, disturbed, and simply put, rich assholes, who have ruined their children aptly played by Shane McRae (James Von Stofenberg) and Katherine Waterston (Cora Cabot) - and quite possibly also the lives of countless others in their quest to be "on top".   Mr. Rapp's clever dark comedy allows only a single beam of light and normalcy to shine throughout the play and her name is Wilma (Quincy Tyler Bernstine) and she is the black maid for the Cabot family.

This seemingly innocuous tale starts out to be a simple gathering of old friends for dinner in an opulent home in suburban Connecticut.  It ends up, assisted by Mr. Rapp's bizarre plot twists and scathing dialogue, with two murders (one animal, one human), with a passionate and explicit sexual encounter involving the two children (i saw that one coming a mile away) and the revelation of countess adult indiscretions and numerous crimes likely perpetrated by one or more of the dinner party attendees.  Wilma, the aforementioned black maid to the rich white folk, is positioned as both a physically and economically stereotypical maid but is brilliantly and subtly charged with being the only character who sees past it all and brings a transcendent sense of normalcy to the entire scene.  With this, Mr. Rapp, I was quite impressed.

Now, if only I could stop thinking about those poor geese!