Monday, February 22, 2010

Clybourne Park

I've been on a lucky roll lately: The Pride, The Boys in the Band and now Clybourne Park. The latter is the new offering by Bruce Norris (The Pain and the Itch) and is at Playwrights Horizons. Forget about David Mamet's Race: This is the play to see if you're interested in such matters. Or just in very good theater. Plus unlike Mamet's turgid show, Clybourne Park is riotously funny.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I laughed a lot during Mamet's play RACE. In fact I found it to be a very entertaining evening at the theatre. Having seen the show on opening night and just last week I can say that it is much better now...amazingly Spader and Grier are even better now than they were on opening night and I thought they were excellent back on Dec. 6.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

That's good to know, but honestly I'm not sure these guys can fix the play, even at the top of their game. Has Kerry Washington improved as well?

Anonymous said...

My apologies, I did not see your response to my posting until today. Yes, Kerry has improved quite a bit. She is no longer shouting her lines and trying to do "Mamet"...instead she has become less mechanical and more natural through most of the show. There are still a few spots where I think she is trying too hard, but they are fewer and farther between. Unfortunately for Kerry her two main leading men are very comfortable and natural on stage; which tends to accentuate even slight failings on her part. Richard Thomas has also softened the theatrics of his performance. Like Kerry, there are only a few instances that make me think "over the top".

I saw the show again last week and have noticed a change in the way James Spader is approaching his character. The first times I saw the show I felt that Jack Lawson was a serious man stating the truths of his mind; now Spader is playing him with an undercurrent of humor. It makes me wonder if Jack truly believes what he is saying or if, to some extent, he just likes to see other peoples' reactions to his comments. He has also added some addition laughs via his facial expressions...these are well placed within the play and add to it. Overall each time I have seen the work it has become better due to the efforts of the actors. The play still has its failings (in particular Mamet's ending), but the actors are making it a very enjoyable theatrical experience for me and for my friends with whom I have seen it.