Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Jacksonian

After Beth Henley's interminable and unpleasant new play, The Jacksonian, finally ended, an audience member turned to me and said, "What was that?"

Excellent question.

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)


Anonymous said...

I know! I was utterly disappointed!! I really like Ed Harris and Bill Pullman, so I am not sure what inspired them to take on this dreadful off-broadway play.
As for NY Times review, I never cared

Wendy Caster said...

Thanks for your comment.

I figured the actors all thought it would be fun to work together--and it probably is! For them!