Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Quick review: Beauty of the Father

Saw Beauty of the Father tonight at Manhattan Theatre Club (City Center, Stage II). Currently in previews, opening mid-January. A very atmospheric piece, well staged and evocative of a timeless kind of Spanish seaside existence. Four modern-day characters and the lingering presence of the dead but still lively and witty Federico Garcia Lorca in a pristine white linen suit for that element of magical realism. Act I introduces them all wonderfully, and Act II opens promisingly, but somewhere along the way, the playwright (Pulitzer Prize-winning Nilo Cruz of Anna in the Tropics fame) seems to lose his way and the denoument felt like it rendered the climactic scene empty and pointless. The Lorca character manages to be somewhat of a saving grace, part philosopher, part comedian, but only to a degree. Perhaps if I knew Lorca's work better, I might be able to pick up on more of the resonances, but I also think the play could've stood on its own better. And while there were many opportunities for laughter throughout, it seemed the audience wasn't always ready to laugh or know when to do so.

Overheard on the way out: "Why don't they write about heterosexual relationships anymore?" Which was only partly appropriate, as the play takes up relationships that go both ways.

No comments: