Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Other Desert Cities

Ho-hum.  We saw Other Desert Cities at MTC.  Essentially, this play revolves around the clash between generations, in the context of the daughter's plan to write a "tell-all" book about an incident that changed the lives of each member of the family.  The play is pretty unsympathetic to the Palm Springs/Republican orientation of the parents, but the roles of the son as the producer of a reality TV show and of the daughter, a leftist author who has had a nervous break-down, come in for some examination as well.

The cast, including  Robyn Nevin, are all good, but the set left me a bit cold.  Most of the second half of the play is performed behind the glass doors of the parents' Palm Springs home, clearly designed to create the impression that the audience is on the outside  observing the action, and perhaps also that the family is trapped within.    However, the audience is left with a sense of being removed from the action, so this does restrict the audience's engagement.

Apparently the MTC production is the first time this play has appeared outside the US.   Most of the US reviews, and the one review that I could find of the MTC production, are pretty good, but we weren't swept off our feet.   Yes, there's some interesting character development and the climax (when we get to it) is dramatic and probably few would expect it, but I was left wondering if there's enough content here to justify a full-length play?    The theatre wasn't full the night we attended, and I notice that the listing of the play in the Sunday Age offers a 10% discount on tickets.   I wonder if there's a message there somewhere?

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