Thursday, May 17, 2012
The Common Pursuit
Simon Gray's two-act portrait of friendship and family certainly makes you think and reflect on life. Spanning 20 years over 4 (well, really 5) scenes, The Common Pursuit takes you on a journey through the connected lives of six young college students as they form a literary (the titular reference) magazine and the subsequent decisions they make, paths they choose, and the lives they lead.
Set in England, we are introduced to a mix-and-match group of unlikely (yet not altogether unexpected) group of friends who all meet regarding said literary magazine being started by idealist Stuart Thorne (Josh Cooke). Loves blossoms, life-long bonds of friendship form, and personalities develop, and wax and wane among the all-around fine ensemble including Marigold (Kristen Bush), Martin (Jacob Fishel), Humphry (Tim McGeever) Peter (Kieran Campion) and Nick (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe).
Act I is more than a bit too long. While a certain amount of exposition is necessary to understand the life-long, enduring bonds of friendship among the characters, there were a few unnecessarily long monologues, and in the case of Nick, much-too-much hamming-it-up which Director, Moises Kaufman, should trim.
I found myself leaving the theatre with my lady-friends engaged in discussions and debate about connected or unconnected dots among the characters, hints dropped in earlier scenes, and the meanings or messages ascribed to each character. A few days later, it still piques my interest while writing this review. That's the sign of good work. I just have this nagging feeling that it could have been even better than it was. It's certainly, however, worth the price of admission. The chance to renew my own bonds of friendship afterwards - Priceless.