The Present: The Bang is Big but Not Deep
I was looking forward to fireworks on the stage of the Barrymore Theatre when Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh, and the company of the Sydney Theatre Company made their Broadway debut. This stellar company has brought the play, The Present, all the way over here from Sydney via London, but little did I know just how explosive this show was going to be. Literally. Revamped and updated by Andrew Upton, the untitled first play of a young Chekhov, as directed by John Crowley, is quite the wild ride at certain points. But like any Chekhovian play, it’s also about boredom and frustration in that boredom, and in this ‘adaptation’ that directionless fog exists here literally and figuratively.
From the beginnings of a birthday dinner until the proverbial hangover the morning after, this overly long 3 hour play has a tremendous amount of endless chatter about their mutually shared apathy in the world, interspersed by a number of startling bangs to wake us up. Thankfully. Like any dinner party (or any play about a dinner party), sometimes the conversation peters out, and the evening festivities take a downward spiral. Sometimes it’s in the form of discomfort and an awkward silence, and in this play, those moments are treated beautifully as comic kindling. Other times, it comes in the guise of frustration or conflict fueled by alcohol and unsaid grievances, and in The Present, all of these are present. For the full review: click here.