Currently at Westport Country Playhouse is a World Premier by Matthew Greene. It’s a serious play about a mass shooting that took place at a fictitious Junior High School called “Thousand Pines.” Since the work represents the escalating mass shootings that have been taking place throughout the US, it comes at a very bewildering time that affects us all.
While the subject matter is timely, the writing is excellent, and this play is well-acted by Kelly McAndrew, William Ragsdale, Anne Bates, Joby Earle, Katie Ailion and Andrew Veenstra, its quite evident that there are flaws with the staging. The most serious flaw is total confusion.
If you didn’t read the program in advance, you probably would not realize that this one act play was intended to portray three different families who were celebrating the same Thanksgiving Day in different households. Therefore, when the first scene drew to a close, the lights dimmed, and the same actors reappeared shortly afterwards in dresses and jackets, one would naturally assume that the time of day had simply changed. The original family was finally about to sit down to a formal dinner, pass the food around, and renew their interactions. This was because the central dining table and set remained essentially the same.
There was also a problem identifying exactly whose son was killed and how the numerous characters were related to one another. By the time you may have sorted this out, the emotional impact of tremendous loss and how it affected each person differently, became secondary. Unfortunately, the play offers no hopes, leans towards no solutions, and there is nothing further to be said about it except “grief.”
Plays to November 17, 2018 Tickets: 203-227-4177
This Review appears in “On CT and NY Theatre” November/2018