Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New York, Spring 2008 -- Day Six, "Time is the Mercy of Eternity: A Meditation in Four Acts"

OK, so you're smarter than I am. You have the power of discernment, and could see well ahead of time that a play with the magniloquent title "Time is the Mercy of Eternity: A Meditation in Four Acts" would be pretentious and overblown.

I, however, optimist that I am, decided to take a chance on this off-off-Broadway concoction (playing the Upper West Side at the West End Theater on 86th), in the hope of finding something magical. Ha!, you say. Ha! - you deserve what you get, like a pioneer who decides to settle in Death Valley, hoping the name is just another example of the exception proving the rule, like Iceland being green and Greenland being icy.

So, here I am, reporting that while Greenland is indeed a barren waste, "Time is the Mercy of Eternity: A Meditation in Four Acts" is a pretentious piece of...well, not crap exactly, but a waste of 90 intermission-less minutes. I will say this is through no fault of the actors. At least, through no fault of their acting talent. They can, however, be blamed for THEIR powers of discernment. They consented to be part of this agglomeration of pseudo-intellectual piffle disguised as theater. Tony-nominated Lisa Kron (a very talented writer-performer whose "Well" made it to Broadway and whose "2.5 Minute Ride" has played around the world) really ought to know better. Still, she gave it her best and helped make the evening somewhat bearable. Curzon Dobell was also excellent, a real presence on stage.

Call me old-fashioned, call me square, but I want theater to tell me a story. It doesn't always have to be linear. It doesn't always even have to be happy. But I would like it to take me someplace new, not just someplace strange.


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