Sunday, February 12, 2017
This is Our Youth, written by Kenneth Lonergan is running at Macbeth Studio, (37 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL) through February 25th. Billed as a comedy, the show, directed by Jeremy Seghers is actually quite dramatic. Set in a 1980s NYC apartment, the show looks at the relationship between two young men, one a domineering former high school jock, and part time pot dealer named Dennis (Jack Kelly) and the other, Warren (Austin DavisJack Kelly) just trying to escape from his father.
The play is set in Dennis's apartment. The theater is actual a photographer's studio on the 9th floor of a downtown office building. The audience watches the scenes unfold in the round since they are seated along a wall and in seats lining the other side of the room as well. David Horgan on of "Dem Guys" the hardcore Fringe patrons, sat beside me and we debated about the year the play was set in. The rotary phone predated cell phones. A TV guide on the floor placed the time around 1982. Books on the bookshelf further verified the detective work.
The play began with Dennis sprawled on his mattress watching TV. The intercom rang repeatedly. He wanted to ignore it, but couldn't. He buzzed up Warren, who had just left home and hoped to find a place to crash for a bit. Dennis buzzed with adolescent energy. As the two threw a football around the apartment, Warren managed to throw the ball into the book as breaking a sculpture that Dennis had of his girl friends. Dennis lost it, and wrestled Warren by the neck and punched him when he was down. The entire friendship was build around his bullying and belittling Warren.
Dennis was also schemer and he arranged to sell of his friends collection of vintage toys to raise cash. When he was gone, One of Dennis's girlfriends, Jessica (Monica Mulder) came up to the apartment. She was beautiful and Warren stumbled all over himself trying to impress her. His attempts were comical. Of course I was rooting for the geek to get the girl. Through all the awkward exchanges they were surprised that they have very common tastes. Warren stole money from his father when he left home, and he decided to use that money to take Jessica on a expensive night on the town, including an expensive hotel stay.
After the date Jessica stopped by the apartment a second time to see Warren. Although it was clear these two cared about each other, they started fighting. Intimacy sparked before they knew each other, so they were both defensive, trying to maintain boundaries. Warren's favorite possession was a baseball hat from his grand father. Of all his possessions he asked his friend Dennis not to sell the hat. Jessica knew how important the hat was, and when Warren offered her anything for love, she asked for the hat. He was glad to give it to her. But he couldn't find it. He searched the apartment in desperation. It was gone. So was any hope of winning Jessica's love. They exchanged bitter words and were driven apart by a hat. It was painful to watch.
When Warren is bullied by his friend Dennis in the third act, I kept hoping that he would fight back. He would loose a physical confrontation but he needed to stand his ground. Friendships and relationships seemed to be about nothing but taking and steeling from one another. For a comedy, this is a dark view of the world. Politics however imply that this is the American way.
Remaining show dates are, February 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25
All performances @ 8:00PM