Friday, November 11, 2011

The Lyons: Two Shows in One

Thanks to the kindness of @rhinoriddler I got a ticket to The Lyons.  To be fair, I bought two tickets to The Lyons but was traveling on both dates and couldn't use them.  When I asked the Vineyard if they would honor my ticket on another day the answer was a resounding no. 

There had been so much buzz about the show and it was selling out so I was afraid I would miss it.  But I went last night and well...there seemed to be two separate plays being performed.  Act I was the Linda Lavin show.  Sort of what I was expecting from the hype.  The overbearing mother full of zingers.  Putting down the kids.  Insulting the dying husband.  Debating redecorating the house after the husband is gone.  Funny, cruel.  Linda Lavin was great.  She brought depth to her character beyond just a sharp tongue. 

Then the second Act happens and I'm not sure what play that was.   There was a pointless scene about the daughter.  Then the rest of Act 2 seemed to be about the son (Michael Esper's character Curtis).  But I'm not sure what it was saying about him or what exactly his journey was about.  It was as if we had not enough time to get into it all really, so we get only a glimpse of his pain, his struggles, his psychological breakdown.  But it all felt rather rushed and muddled.  Esper was trying his best with the material.  He gave every ounce of his sinew to extract a character and a moving performance from the material.  I was curious about his character and felt some level of sympathy for him, but I felt cheated in the end that he did not have the time or space to explore it all completely.  Moreover, I was puzzled what this had to do with Act 1.  Besides the obvious familial connections, these felt like two wholly distinct plays. 

I was not sure what Nicky Silver was saying about any of his characters here.  This felt like more of a workshop piece than a finished work.  These are all terrific actors so it was still a pleasure to see but it did not have the resonance or impact I was hoping for. 

1 comment:

  1. Once again, I had a different reaction. I actually loved the second act (although I could have done without the first scene of that act). It started as a conventional family drama, but went in a totally unexpected direction. The second scene in the second act was surprising and made me uncomfortable, which I like in the theater. I felt it did fit because the play is really about the children. They're selfish and maladjusted and think it's because of their hard life, which really wasn't such a bad life.