I had never seen this play onstage, and heard such great things about this production, with Cherry Jones as the mother and Zachary Quinto as the son, Celia Keenan-Bolger as the daughter. and Brian J. Smith as the gentleman caller. Richard and I were both very disappointed in the production, and the fault lies with the director. The actors all did a great job. I was most impressed with the two actors I didn’t know, Keenan-Bolger and Smith - - they seemed to have an ease and naturalness that the other two lacked. The biggest problem was the staging. The director added all this modern dance-ish movement during the scene changes, and it just looked stupid. It was like he was trying to show the audience how clever he was, how only HE would think to illuminate the play in this way. It was tiresome. And the music didn’t help. It was good music, by the darling of the moment, Nico Muhly (he wrote *Two Boys*, which we saw at the Met this fall), but there was too much of it. Especially at the very start of the show - - with me, it’s a conflict of interest: am I listening to the music, or to the actor doing his monologue? The set was a little peculiar, and difficult to describe. It had three rooms, on three connected hexagonal platforms. The actors went down a set of stairs, going under the stage level, whenever they left the stage, and came up those stairs when they entered. The peculiar thing is these three platforms were surrounded by water. They didn’t use the water, it just reflected what was onstage, when the actors got near enough to be reflected. I say if you’re going to have a set surrounded by water, why not do something with it? The water didn’t add anything, unless we’re supposed to think that this family is on their own private island or some other hooey.
It’s such a beautiful play, I wish they would have just put it on the stage with those four actors and not decorated it with all this business.