I submitted a comment to Mr. Isherwood’s confusing review of Ms. Zoe Kazan’s play We Live Here. You can find the review here. Unfortunately, it appears as if my support for the Greytest of the Grey Lady’s Critics may no longer be welcome in the virtual pages of the NYTimes. No matter! I shall continue to voice my support from here!
At any rate, here is my comment, slightly revised:
Dear Mr. Isherwood,
I’m confused. You clearly did not like this play, but barely restrained yourself from completely demolishing it… (Which is to say, you gave the play a nice thrashing, but spared the entire production?) There is almost (thankfully, almost!) an irenic tone to your review of this piece. It’s (almost) disconcerting! I have come to expect the majestic, devastating swoop of the Heavy Hand of the Heavy-Handedest of Critics to mercilessly discipline an incorrect playwright’s work. But this seemed almost tentatively destructive. Perhaps you did not have a good breakfast this morning, or refrained from a nice night-cap last night? I suggest a generous helping of cream of wheat and a very dry martini. That should get the blood pumping!
Your last paragraph, however, did give me hope! I, too, long for a moratorium on plays about weddings! Indeed, I would prefer a moratorium on weddings. Contrary to what one sees so often in the theatre, unless the wedding is one’s own (and even then…), they are inevitably boring affairs: two ostensible lovers plighting their troths (?) in front of a small, dreary cadre of over-dressed “friends” and “family” all full of the tritest of sentiments regarding happy “futures” and “good wishes.” Blech. It’s a wonder anyone has been able to wring any drama from such a belabored enterprise–what possible drama can there be in two relative strangers who think they know each other (because they “know” each other) embarking together on an unknown and perilous future? When I recall my own wedding, the words “special,” “happy,” “dramatic”or “joyous” do not as readily spring to mind as the word “vicodin.” My wife was on loads of it. She has never looked more dreamy. Literally, never. I think that throughout the entire ordeal, we were both thinking of very different far away places we would rather be.
(I’m not sure plays about elopement are the solution, however. Like you, I prefer stress-free drama so there is nothing to get in the way of a well-earned nap! But I’m thinking of that old chestnut by Mr. Shakespeare about that eloping couple from the two different families. Although even then, there are times when…yawn!)
I hope you agree!