Thursday, September 4, 2014
This Is Our Youth
What we have here is Broadway prices to see some young hot actors tell a rather pedestrian story in 2 ½ hours in what could possible have been a 65 minute no-intermission short-play with a lot more impact. More impact, that is, except in the producers' pocketbooks. Who would pay $100+ a seat for that? Nobody is my guess. So it has to run on Broadway and the requisite unearned hype is made and we all buy tickets.
Don't get me wrong, the un-mic'd actors on the not-as-messy-as-it-should-have-been set are basically yelling at each other most of the play about their youthful irresponsibilitys, messed up lives, and those of their friends. Kenneth Lonergan wrote this play in the '90's and it has had a few off-Broadway and regional runs with marginal success prior to this. In this incarnation, Michael Cera (Warren Straub), Kieren Culkin (Dennis Ziegler), and newcomer Tavi Gevinson (Jessica Goldman) grace the stage.
The problem wasn't the acting. That was solid. No complaints. The story, on the other hand, was way too long, too repetitive, and contained a message in the last 5 minutes of the 2 ½ hours that could have been arrived at minute 55 of 65 without an intermission. This material is perfectly suited to a short-play. I'm not complaining about the material - drugs, sex, messed-up kids with first-world-problems. I just wish the writing was more focused, brief, more impactful, and went somewhere. Anywhere. Mr. Lonegran's expansion of this material into a full-fledged 2-act stage play is a mistake.
For this we pay $100 and get very little in return from the fine performances on the stage.