Thursday, April 05, 2012

My Life at the Theater: AUNT DAN AND LEMON


A play by Wallace Shawn, which we saw in 2003 expecting to like because of the rave reviews. It just didn't work for us despite our love of Lili Taylor.

The play told of Aunt Dan (Kristen Johnson)'s political seduction of a family friend's daughter. Aunt Dan is a facist, finding things to like in every far-right regime. Henry Kissinger evokes her most ardent feelings. The bombing in Vietnam was just and right for her. And a generation later, Lemon is spouting Aunt Dan.

I can appreciate what Shawn was saying in this play, but it is very hard to listen to such sentiments delivered for two hours a few feet away. It was, excuse the word, stagey.

Didacticism needs a more subtle voice than this play had for us. If a play can be shocking and boring at the same time, this one succeeded.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Aunt Dan is a facist"

Perhaps she ought to see a plastic surgeon.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I know what you mean. When a character is too obvious, that can be off-putting. It does take a subtle touch...

John said...

Wallace Shawn is a "talky" playwright and often too cerebral. MY DINNER WITH ANDRE bored me to tears and everyone else in my group thought it brilliant and astonishing. But this one had something for me: Linda Hunt. She played Aunt Dan in the original production and was mesmerizing. I think her amazing voice had a lot to do with it.

I don't think I could watch Kristen Johnson on stage in anything unless it was a manic farce.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I would imagine Hunt would be better. Johnson was so smirky-creepy I don't know how anyone could be won over by her.

Todd Mason said...

Fond of Taylor, too, but she lost a lot of cred with THE HAUNTING.