Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sixty Miles To Silver Lake

photo: Monique Carboni

It takes just a short while to realize that we're watching a father and his son not on one car ride but on several, in short scenes spanning at least a handful of years. Rather than arranging the scenes chronologically, the playwright (Dan Lefranc) repeatedly jump-cuts forward and backward to heighten the recurring motifs in their conversations: on one trip, Dad is supportive of his son's soccer playing, but a moment later during a different car ride he's cruelly dismissive, reducing his son's extracurricular soccer to "day care with cleats". What emerges from the playwright's structure is initially fascinating - the juxtapositions of the scenes struck me as a means to illustrate the cumulative damage caused by the careless things that parents say to children - but the ninety-minute one-act, despite Anne Kauffman's fluid direction and fully convincing performances by Joseph Adams and Dane Dehaan, nonetheless runs out of gas around the hour mark. While the playwright succeeds at mining the grotesque from the ordinary in the dynamic between the father and son, their story is finally too ordinary to sustain our full engagement all the way to the play's end. Despite that, this is a playwright well worth watching out for, and a play well worth seeing.

No comments: