Friday, September 09, 2011


Itamar Moses's play Completeness at Playwrights Horizons is excellent - first half is truly superb, it passed by in a flash, second half perhaps slightly less mesmerizing and more chaotic but still representing quite an accomplishment. I suspect it could be honed down to 1:45 with no intermission (it was 2:15 with an intermission, and with some goofy distracting stuff in the second half, including a bit when the two minor actors break out of character and come forward - not as effective as when this happened in the Albee "Counting the Ways" some years ago). The acting is excellent too, particularly in the case of the male lead - this play depicts grad student life impeccably, down to the haggard looks of the graduate students! It is not as complex as a Tom Stoppard play in its structure, but there is some of the same (quite unusual) sense of intelligence both in the writing of the characters and in the actors' performance of them; it is a very funny play, that is one of its chief pleasures, but I also appreciated the way that it weaves together the scientific analogies with the argument about 'life' without ever having characters state things in their banal exactitude: it is surprisingly rare for a playwright to hold back and go up to the brink of the thought and let the other character register it, as the first character moves towards it, without feeling the need to have either of them actually say the words out loud and effectively ruin the moment.

Quick dinner afterwards at the West Bank Cafe: I had a very delicious hanger steak salad (tomatoes, blue cheese, fingerling potatoes), and would have ordered the frozen lemon mousse for dessert only the wait staff was under the sway of a horseshoe-tabled birthday party of hilarity and mirth, and the moment passed: made more sense just to come on home. In sum, though, dinner and the play were both very good...

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