New York Hub
BY NAVEEN KUMAR
You don’t have to be married (or straight) to appreciate the compelling insights into intimacy and all manner of relationships revealed by Donald Margulies in his 2000 Pulitzer Prize winning play Dinner With Friends, which opened Off Broadway last night in a revival at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels Theatre.
In fact, anyone in a rush to reach the altar might do well to consider Margulies’ provocative questions about the coveted social institution. Nearly 15 years after its New York premiere, the play takes on a sort of fresh relevance given marriage is a novel (and hard won) right for a growing segment of the population.
For the two couples on stage, marriage is not so much a choice as a matter of course—which is perhaps part of the problem. The play opens with Gabe (Jeremy Shamos) and Karen (Marin Hinkle), an almost gratingly perfect couple, tripping to finish each other’s sentences while describing a recent dream trip to Rome for their distracted friend and dinner guest Beth (Heather Burns).
The meal has just been cleared (Gabe and Karen aren’t just foodies, they’re food writers), the kids are upstairs with ice cream and a movie, when Beth finally spills a confession—her husband Tom (Darren Pettie) is leaving her for another woman. Beth and Tom aren’t just their best friends; Gabe and Karen set them up 12 years earlier (a scene we’ll see later), so the news strikes a particular blow.
What follows is the swift unraveling of one relationship and a slow burning, penetrating examination of another. More than the minutia of what makes some relationships succeed or fail, Margulies uncovers the subconscious roles in which we cast friends and loved ones in the interest of self-preservation.
Gabe was counting on Tom to be his partner in expanding waistlines and matrimonial bellyaching. Karen counts on Beth to be a mess she can help clean up. Any shift in these roles feels like a free fall, raising unnerving questions about their own life choices that Gabe and Karen seem at a loss to answer.
Direction by Pam MacKinnon (Tony winner for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), though markedly staid in physical action, brings out fine performances from the cast of four. Shamos (The Assembled Parties) is a particular standout, his affluent New England intellectual the perfect blend of undisclosed yearning and neurotic ennui.
Scenic design by Allen Moyer emphasizes the beige of middle age with blank canvas walls, which fill with vibrant color for the play’s single flashback to Martha’s Vineyard, where newly wed Gabe and Karen introduce their ill-fated friends. Though fitting, the broad-stroaked design is hardly necessary, the play's subtle brilliance speaks clearly on its own.
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Follow Naveen Kumar on Twitter: @Mr_NaveenKumar (photos: jeremy daniel)
(edited image via huffpost)
Prejudice is taught, and this week's lesson comes from a mom in Baldwin, NY who would not let her son attend his seven-year-old classmate's birthday party.
The mother's note went viral this week after it was printed on the K-98.3 Facebook page.
Tommy will NOT attend. I do not believe in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your "lifestyle." I'm sorry Sophia has to grow up this way. If you have an issue or need to speak to me: [number erased]
Since the note was originally printed with the woman's phone number visible, we'll bet she got quite a few calls about it.
UPDATED: The story is a hoax.
Dear K-98.3 Listeners,
On Wednesday, we told you the story of Sophia's birthday party, and one parent's objection to the same-sex household of Sophia's parents. We also posted the invitation on our Facebook page, and invited comments from our followers.
This story was, in fact, totally fictitious, and created by the two of us. This was done without the knowledge of K-98.3 management or ownership.
We were attempting to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic, but we made a mistake by misleading our listeners into thinking that this specific situation actually existed.
We are very sorry that we perpetuated this falsehood, even after it was clear that it had taken on a 'life of its own.' We deeply apologize for violating your trust, and we will work hard to regain that trust.
Steve & Leeana
Nobody was more jubilant about New York City's recent snowstorm than NYT man-on-the-street fashion icon Bill Cunningham who planted himself on various slush-laden corners of Manhattan to giggle and take wonderful pictures of men who refuse to put on boots as they leap, splash, and slip in the frozen filth.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Police are seeking three men in connection with an anti-gay attack in Manhattan in the early hours of New Year's Day, Metro reports:
The victim, 27, and another man, 34, were walking along First Avenue near 15th Street about 3 a.m. on Jan. 1 when they got into a verbal dispute with the suspects. The three men allegedly shouted anti-gay statements and then physically assaulted the victim, who suffered bruising to the side of his head.
Police released photos of the suspects, who are described as white males in their 30s.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477) or visit the Crime Stoppers website.