Sunday February 10, 2013 / 2:00pm4000 Miles
How was your experience?
I thought it was entertaining, funny, and moving -- occasional tearful moments caught me by surprise. The distances between the characters seemed at times unbridgeable (literally played out on stage with characters standing very far from each other and rare moments of touching), the tiny moments of closeness memorable. The confusion and intense emotions of youth and the difficulty of growing up are represented so well. The generation gap is presented creatively, with the middle (parents') generation missing. Ideological expressions in these different generations has changed so much--ex-radical, communist grandmother Vera and environmentally aware grandson Leo sometimes seem to be speaking different languages, and yet they do eventually find some common understanding. I recommend the play with reservations that have more to do with the difficulty of seeing it from the height of the balcony and the occasional implausible plot elements. Although the sound was good in the balcony, I felt a slight emotional remove, not being able to see the actors' faces very well. The character of the Chinese-American girl, Amanda, Leo's date, was funny, though the episode ultimately seemed poignant and a bit tawdry, but it was a good way to move our understanding of the main character forward. However, it wasn't always easy to catch all her words. There is a tragedy at the center of the play; revealing this by degrees keeps the dramatic tension going, but the episode itself, overly dramatic and a bit implausible, drains the tension a bit (although accidents do sometimes have an element of absurdity and irony). I think the playwright did a good job of keeping the sentimentality at bay with comic relief, although at times the comedy was almost too absurd. The audience seemed extremely receptive and willing to go along with all of the emotional and dramatic revelations--that in itself was touching for me.