Thursday, February 19, 2015
I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard
Reed Birney for whom this fan has noting but praise, once again raises his game and stretches his boundaries with David, a bitter, opinionated, acerbic, highly damaged playwright who maintains what one might categorize as an, abusive, domineering, and permanently corrosive relationship with his impressionable young actress/daughter, Ella (Betty Gilpin). Up to this point I would never have pegged Mr. Birney for such an aggressive, bear-it-all role but his performance here has placed him in an entirely new category in my book. For his next role, I can clearly see him playing Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's Angels in America. If I were a Tony nominator (and this play were actually eligible), Mr. Birney would get my vote hands down.
In this intimate two-hander at the Atlantic Theater Company - Stage II, we find David clearly dominating the conversation around his Upper West Side kitchen table in Act I. When the smoke clears for Act II (quite literally), we find a once shy and awkward Ella all grown up and coming into her own in a dark downtown black-box theater mostly holding one-sided conversations on her cell phone. While she has blossomed in her looks and confidence, what we quickly learn through her actions is a simple, timeless, and chilling lesson - Like Father - Like Daughter.
Don't expect a happy reunion between these two in the end. Like the old phrase goes - What comes around, goes around.