The play opens with a married couple in their living room. A few moments later we hear their son crying (off stage) in his bedroom. In this first version Henri (Dan Hiatt) and Sonia (Delia MacDougall) have very different ideas on how to respond to their child. In the second version they work more as partners and by the third version their parenting skills have improved even more.
Of course the negative energy, caused by their first disharmonious way of dealing with the child, spills over into the rest of their lives. When Henri’s boss (Warren David Keith) shows up at their apartment with his wife (Julia Brothers), disharmony rules and everyone’s life comes crashing down. As their parenting skills improve in the second and third version so does the rest of their life and the encounter with the boss becomes more harmonious also. “It explores how small changes in nuance, in behavior, can ultimately lead to larger shifts in relationships and alliances,” says director Amy Glazer. “That danger and chaos that live at the center of human interaction is exciting and mysterious.”
But playwright Yasmina Reza adds yet another layer of universal appeal. Henri is an astrophysicist working on “dark matter.” If his work sounds symbolic, it is, and Reza runs a parallel line of dark matter through the dialogue, which metaphorically enriches the drama. “There is something ironic and disturbing about a society that can articulate the mysteries of the universe with sublime insight, yet grasp so little about human mysteries and motivations,” Glazer says.
Reza has a lot of good literary stuff in this play. The problem is that the best of it is serious drama and Reza tries to put it in a light comic context. The two clash and leave the audience wondering whether they should laugh or cry like the off stage child.
For tickets or more information call (415) 388-5208 or visit www.marintheatre.org.
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