Martha's Vineyard lies a durable dramatic formula: a plot based on a secret that causes telling reversals. Two sons bring their girlfriends to the family home for a weekend, and the mix of race and class-consciousness lets loose submerged anger and secrets. Michole Briana White is wonderful as Taylor, one of the girlfriends and the most complex person in the play. She deftly conveys her character's eagerness, intelligence, lack of self-consciousness, and frustration. Justine Bateman also stands out as the other girlfriend - savvy, sexy, smart, and confident. Though the second half is less structured, the play has wonderfully alert dialogue, which makes it especially fun.
©2007 L.A. Theatre Works; (P)2007 L.A. Theatre Works
You know a performance is great if you find yourself thinking about it at random times days - or even months - later. I finished Lydia Diamond's "Stick Fly" (2011) about 2 months ago, and just got reminded I hadn't reviewed the Los Angeles Theater Works (LATW) Audible performance of the play.
What reminded me? A news story about two young men from a wealthy family in Snellville, Georgia who tried to kill their parents. I flashed back to the 1990's and the Menendez Brothers, who succeeded where those two young men thankfully failed. Both families are from non-majority racial groups, but I've never heard the press mention that. What's important to the Fourth Estate is the mansions, the private schools, the tennis courts . . .
"Stick Fly" explores the great social divide, and in an America that's desperately trying to be post-racial, that divide is wealth and class. I think, to a great extent the 2% - or 1% - seem to occupy some upper strata insulated from scandal and tragedy. It's not true in real life, and it's not true in "Stick Fly."
It's a neat audio play. I felt like I was in The Hamptons, secretly cheering for the naive entomologist heroine from the other 98%, who's become an unwitting specimen herself.
The title of the review is from the Greek origin of "entomology".
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