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John is playing at the Signature Theatre located at 480 West 42nd Street. It runs three hours fifteen minutes with two intermissions.The play closed September 6, 2015.
Annie Baker is the playwright. She won a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2014 for The Flick.
Sam Gold is the director. He won a Tony Award for Fun Home (2015).
Georgia Engel is known for her role as Georgette Franklin Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1972-1977. The role won her two Emmy nominations.
Lois Smith was nominated for two Tony Awards for Buried Child (1996) and The Grapes of Wrath (1990). She starred in the off Broadway revival of The Trip to Bountiful in 2005. Lois received an Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama Desk Award for this role. In 2013 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in Off-Broadway performance.
The place is Gettysburg, Pa, at the very end of November.
Elias Schreiber-Hoffman (Christopher Abbott) and Jenny Chung (Hong Chau) arrive at Mertis Katherine Graven (Georgian Engel) bread and breakfast late. They are sorry but the traffic was bad.
Mertis shows them around. In the center of the room is a stair case to the upstairs bedrooms. The steps leading upstairs have stuffed bears on each step. To the right are a couch and a variety of different chairs. A big clock is behind the coach and a door to Mertis bedroom. The dinning are is to the left of the stairs, with small tables. It looks like a French bistro. There are pictures and knickknacks of the Eiffel tower. She tells them the refrigerator is there for them to help themselves. All around the rooms are a clutter of knickknacks. A piano is against the stairs with a doll in a chair.
Elias and Jenny have come from Ohio. Jenny explains Elias has been crazy about the Civil War since he was eight years old. They were going to see the sights. The real reason is the couples broke up and are trying to mend the relationship.
Jenny gets her friend and is pain, she tells Elias to go see the sights.
Mertis friend Genevieve (Lois Smith) visits. She is blind. Lois tells Jenny she left her husband but he took over her mind and so she went to a mental institution where he took over every one’s mind. But she fine now.
That is the basis of the story. There are things that happen between the characters, some interesting and some not.
Mertis changes the time on the clock, the light outside the window changes density to indicate time has gone by. She pulls the curtain open and close at the end of each act. It’s as if she is opening and closing the curtains on the window to let light in.
When the second act ends peoples are leaving the theatre to stretch their legs. Lois comes out in character asking the audience not to leave that she has something to say and it will only take five minutes. They can us the rest room afterward.
Hong and Georgia were hard to hear at times. I may have missed things that may have made me able to understand what was going on better. But what I saw I did not like. It was confusing even when I heard. There was nothing to like about Elias or Jenny. Mertis was okay but I was waiting for her husband George to come out. You would think that in three hours and fifteen minutes he would have.
Review by Rozanna Radakovich.
Photos by Annazor.
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