The Long Shrift @ Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

The Long Shrift is a play written by Robert Boswell and Directed by James Franco. Opening night is Sunday July 13, 2014 Tickets here

I wanted to take a break from live music this weekend so upon suggestion by Mr. Franco’s instagram account (how did that even get added to my feed?) I took a chance on an intimate theater production at Rattlestick in Greenwich Village.

I always try to go in blind for performances and don’t want to spoil it for others. Suffice it to say the advertisements are correct in stating, “Richard Singer, a dorky teenage boy is accused and thrown in jail for rape, tearing his parents apart. Now, nine years later, Richard is out of jail and his accuser is back in his life.

The narrative is relatively simple, with the center of the story exploring how individuals connected to Richard are reeling through his demise, and later on when Richard becomes a vindicated man, the story shifts closer to how he and his accuser can move forward through their guilt, confusion and frustration of still believing different things about the night that put them on this path.

With a feminist bias I couldn’t agree with all of the so-called gray area regarding whether the sex between the teenagers had been consensual or not, but it was a rich debate. It seems rare that any 2 people can process such accusations or their consequences the same way, and it certainly came across in this performance how the stakes always appear higher for families invested in the future success of sons vs. their daughters.

Scott Haze (The accused young man Richard) gave a stunning performance emitting that special “something” that certain actors can have. It was as if his character, physical presence and awareness couldn’t be sustained on such a small stage. His movements made the room swell and stretch with the character’s emotions and I feel he was the key to making this narrative a reality for the audience- Haze most certainly outshines a couple of his colleagues.

Ally Sheedy (Richard’s Mother) also gave a striking performance throughout, pushing a character so purely manic depressive you could feel paint peeling off the walls as her rantings started in on the hourly displeasure of living in a world where her son (or legacy) is in prison. The Mother’s attitude about the dark side of her son got me thinking of Lionel Shriver’s, We Need to Talk About Kevin and it’s left to the audience just how true her original concerns might have been.

I recommend checking out this play, it will give you some things to think about within a context that refreshes old debates about the American family, rape culture, and the prison industrial complex. xoxo #blkgrlswurld

The Long Shrift w/ Allie Gallerani (Macy), Scott Haze (Richard), Brian Lally (Henry), Ahna O’Reilly (Beth) and Ally Sheedy (Sarah).

 

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