*Junk,* 10/25/17

October 29, 2017

Richard and I saw *Junk* at Lincoln Center Theater on Broadway in 10/25/17. It's a new play by Ayad Akhtar, who won the Pulitzer in 2013 for *Disgraced.* We didn't think much of that play, either, though Richard liked *Junk* more than I did.

It's set in 1985, mostly in New York City, and is about junk bonds, and the concept of debt being an asset. I had a hard time following what was going on, I didn't understand the financial concepts. I tried to pretend I was seeing an opera without the translation, and give in to the experience, catch bits of meaning and drama where I could. That worked to a degree. Richard had an advantage over me because he was actually IN New York City in the 80s, and recognized some of the thinly veiled characters - - Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, maybe that guy was supposed to be Malcolm Forbes? I'm so clueless, Richard had to explain to me that the Attorney General was a Giuliani stand-in. Went right over my head.

My diagnosis is that it seemed better than it was - - to put it another way, the show was better than the play. This is a tribute to director Doug Hughes. He kept it moving, kept it crackling, never went the way of *Oslo* and had the actors shouting to create drama (how I hated that). He and the set designer did some interesting things with the staging, they put the actors in zones. They could move from zone to zone, but generally didn't straddle zones. It's hard to explain it without seeing it, but it was an interesting structure for the staging.

The play would be better if it were 20 to 30 minutes shorter and had fewer actors (there were 19 actors in the show). This is a funny thing for me to say, who often spends three hours at the opera, and spent SIX HOURS at a play last week. But this play - - really. Two hours, tops. The rest is wheel-spinning. 

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