Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Babylon Line

Richard Greenberg has penned yet another fascinating character study - this time 1960's Long Island - Levittown, specifically.  There's quite a storied history to Levittown and apparently now a few of its residents too.

The Babylon Line is a memory play - which may make some uncomfortable - especially when you get to the end and have to reflect back on what version of his memories was the true version.

A terrific ensemble cast of characters - and characters, they were indeed.  Leading the class is the New York City frustrated writer Aaron Port (Josh Radnor).  His suburban students include a trio of gossipy Jewish housewives - the indomitable Frieda Cohan (Randy Graff), slightly ditzy Anna Cantor (Maddie Corman), and struggling writer Midge Braverman (Julie Halston).  But it also includes a war-vet Jack Hassenpflug (Frank Wood) and off-beat local boy Marc Adams (Michael Oberholtzer).  Not to be left out is the out-of-place in Levittown, off-beat, Joan Dellamond (Elizabeth Reaser).

Mr. Greenberg certainly knows how to tell a story - and what a tangled web he does weave way out on the Babylon Line once a week in Levittown!  Sassy housewives, off-beat interlopers, and a writing class that was likely second choice on many of the attendees lists.  Once we get into the class the story develops and envelops you (mostly through the lighting) in to the lives, both current as past, of these delicious and mysterious characters.

It was not lost on this audience member that Mr. Greenberg slyly linked one of the housewives to another character in one of his other plays that was recently on Broadway - Our Mother's Brief Affair.  Tough, tender, interesting, a bit of Long Island history, and a generally magical evening in the theatre.  Could Mr. Greenberg nip and tuck in a few scenes, sure.  Did it matter, not very much.  What is the true story? I'll leave it up to you to decide.