Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Homecoming

Photo/Scott Landis

I confess to having a very negative reaction to Harold Pinter's The Homecoming -- not so much that I can't applaud the powerful alpha-dominating actors to be found in Ian McShane's Max, Raul Esparza's Lenny, or Eve Best's paradoxical Ruth (she blossoms into what many would consider a most withering profession), but enough that I can't recommend the show. Granted, Pinter works with the so-called "pregnant pauses" and writes in a cryptic, often symbolic style, but the characters here seem too much like nasty stand-ins that it's hard to connect enough with a relationship enough to pity its loss. We certainly don't get that from James Frain's Teddy, nor even enough goodness from the balancing figure of Uncle Sam (Michael McKean); instead, we quickly leap into the depravity of a family viewed -- unfiltered -- as animals, the sort of people who find boxing to be a gentleman's sport. Pity the hardworking women who cannot rise above Max's collapsed coinage: "slutbitch." Pity more the audience that has to sit through two hours of the most depressing theater in order to arrive at that very same conclusion.

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