Thursday, October 2, 2008
Joanna Murray-Smith's 'Ninety'
I saw the MTC production of Joanna Murray-Smith's play Ninety last night. I don't know if it's touring to other states, but if it is I highly recommend you hire a babysitter.
The play has left quite an impression on me. I can't find a way to respond to it with any objective analysis, as my reaction to Joanna's work is always to be confronted with all it brings up in me about my own life. It is a work that raises so many questions about the masks and layers we operate with, the way we choose to live, the people we hide in, those we are truly real with, the layers we do or don't expose, how ugly we allow ourselves to be, what binds us and what sets us free.
Plot-wise, the title of the play refers to the number of minutes William grants to ex-wife Isobel to convince him they should still be together. At the outset, you really can't imagine how these two people are going to find their way back to each other. For two characters who are in many ways quite unlikeable to ultimately move us so much requires quite an arc--something Joanna manages with her usual deftness. I have rarely been in audience so riveted--and with so many men weeping!
This season has sold out I believe (not surprisingly), but look out for future productions, or the paperback edition I think will be available shortly.