After Beth Henley's interminable and unpleasant new play, The Jacksonian, finally ended, an audience member turned to me and said, "What was that?"
The story of a divorcing couple, a neglected child, a lonely waitress, and a bartender with a past brushing up against one another at the titular rundown motel, The Jacksonian fails to evoke sympathy, laughs, or interest. Robert Falls' direction doesn't help; he has led his superb cast (Ed Harris! Amy Madigan! Bill Pullman! Glenne Headly!) to puzzling, unconvincing, awkward performances. The supposedly humorous parts are embarrassing; the supposedly poignant parts are embarrassing; the whole thing is embarrassing.
Ben Brantley gave the show a good review, which baffles me. I was far from alone in disliking the show the night I saw it. The applause was perfunctory, and the after-show mood was glum. Perhaps Brantley saw a much better performance? It's hard to imagine.
(aisle, fifth row, press ticket)