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Review of Prodigal Son

My review of Prodigal Son. Others have other reviews, and I am not taking away from them, but here is mine:

Eh. Basically, I spent $90 plus travel to see Robert Sean Leonard in person and that was worth it to me (even though he didn’t have Stage Door so I didn’t see him up close), but if he hadn’t been in the play, I would have been angry to spend that much.

My biggest problem with the play is the play itself, not the production.

It could have said something about class, but it doesn’t.

It could have said something about betrayal, but it doesn’t.

It could have said something about external vs. internal conceptions of right and wrong, but it doesn’t.

It tells a story I have heard way too often to have any patience for: able straight cis white Christian late-teen boy screws up repeatedly, hurts others, gets coddled for no real reason, doesn’t appreciate what he has, and whines for more.

I thought of Marley Dias, and how she could sum up her required reading as “white boy with dog.”

Acting-wise, Timothee Chalamet was very good; I was drawn in by his performance. Annika Boras’s acting was very good, although I wanted to adjust her volume up. Chris McGarry was very, very touching. He should’ve been on the posters.

RSL, I enjoyed watching, as always, though I felt sometimes he was apologizing for the material. It would be interesting to know what his discussions with the writer/director were. And one pivotal scene fell flat due to RSL’s continued inability to make a certain action believable. Some day, some day. Maybe.

If you’re a fan of Timothee Chalamet or are willing to pay $90 to look at RSL, you can give this a try. Otherwise, I hear Fun Home is really good.

PS. Where does fic come from? From the places canon didn't go. Here's my fic (BIG spoilers): http://deelaundry.dreamwidth.org/23936.html

This entry was originally posted at http://deelaundry.dreamwidth.org/24212.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 29th, 2016 03:41 pm (UTC)
"RSL’s continued inability to make a certain action believable."

you aren't by any chance referring to the fact that every time he kissed Anne Dudek it was about as sexy as a little kid being forced to kiss drunk Granma, are you?
Mar. 4th, 2016 11:50 pm (UTC)
I was trying to be subtle and not give away a plot point, but y'all know me (and RSL) too well :) He didn't kiss anyone in the play, but he was supposed to hit on someone and it just fell completely flat.
Mar. 7th, 2016 09:04 am (UTC)
Awww bless him!
I wonder whether he just finds love scenes so unbearable that it comes across on screen/to the audience or whether he is just naturally... an awkward lover?! LOL

I actually thought his and Amber's kissing scenes were fine but always felt like him and the actress who played Sam really didn't want to kiss each other. Their body language just always looked so stiff!

Or maybe I just saw it that way because I HATED Sam...
Feb. 29th, 2016 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your review!

I have to admit that when I first heard the press release for this play, I was like - yay for RSL being back on the NYC stage etc... but the brief description of the plot left me feeling a bit...meh. Haven't we heard this story over and over?

I guess I was hoping that they would take the(yawn) story line and make something of it -As you suggested, saying something about class or betrayal etc... but it seems that the play just doesn't deliver!

I also find it a bit cringy that the play is autobiographical and therefore is essentially the playwright telling the audience how wonderful he is!

We had a couple of little discussions about the play over at RSL-Fans (what was RSL-Daily): http://rsl-fans.livejournal.com

Scroll through the Prodigal Son tag if you are interested in having a read (There is a post for all the critic reviews there too!)

One critic mused why 'an actor of Robert Sean Leonard's stature was drawn to it'.
I wonder too... But knowing RSL, he probably was just happy to be back on the NYC stage and bag a job close to home! ;-)
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:02 am (UTC)
RSL said in one interview, “I read the script and I liked it; it’s a very unique play, very surprising. Kind of like a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode” so I had hoped it would have a real twist ... but he's not exactly a reliable narrator in his interviews, so my hope was not that elevated. :)

There is a cool scene at the end that's in the future tense, but that's about it. Maybe that scene is what RSL thought of as Twilight Zone-like.
Mar. 7th, 2016 09:07 am (UTC)
Yeh I read that quote and wondered how it fitted with the play as it didn't seem to correlate with anything I had read about it!

I do wonder what discussions (if any!) him and John Patrick Shanley had about Alan's story line (the gay/hitting on students stuff!)
Feb. 29th, 2016 11:53 pm (UTC)
I thought that Doubt was a far better play. I agree that there were lots of interesting ways this one could have gone but didn't. And I believe I know which action you mean - it looked very awkward and false (but possibly due to direction rather than RSL's fault).
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:09 am (UTC)
The direction certainly could have had a hand in how it came across. But RSL doesn't exactly have a track record of making expressions of desire believable... I still love our boy even if he has some struggles in a certain type of scene. :)
Mar. 5th, 2016 03:23 am (UTC)
I just wanted to say how much I've missed the way it used to be possible (and still is) to adore RSL and hassle him mercilessly at the same time *g*. A pity it doesn't seem to work that way in more places. X is perfect, how dare you!
Mar. 6th, 2016 02:38 am (UTC)
Hahahaha, too true - perhaps the reason he was never the leading man heartthrob his looks could have made him.

I guess that I interpreted that gesture in a more innocent way, as an expression of commiseration/comfort rather than physical desire, although of course that interpretation would be colored in retrospect by later revelations.
Mar. 1st, 2016 03:30 am (UTC)
It was badly staged, and your thoughts about the play itself were dead-on. I am so TIRED of troubled boy geniuses. And yeah, I'm sorry to hear that gesture didn't get any less awkward.

Maybe RSL thought it would get better as it went along. Maybe he just wanted to work with John Patrick Shanley.
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:15 am (UTC)
There were some clever things about the staging ("I liked some things about it" as Louise damned with faint praise that poem in the play) and yet overall it was badly staged.
Mar. 1st, 2016 08:42 pm (UTC)
It tells a story I have heard way too often to have any patience for: able straight cis white Christian late-teen boy screws up repeatedly, hurts others, gets coddled for no real reason, doesn’t appreciate what he has, and whines for more.

This is exactly the impression I got of the play from its description and from the reviews. (When I read that there is a lengthy passage about how good-looking the kid is, my eye-roll was epic.) I'm pretty happy with my decision not to buy tickets.

I feel like RSL probably took the part just to work with Shanley, and because he seems drawn to supporting roles -- "not the guy, but the guy that the guy depends on."
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:41 am (UTC)
I had the same impression from the reviews but had my fingers crossed for something more interesting. Which did not come, unfortunately.

As I told my friend who went with me, the story would have been much more interesting from RSL's character's point of view.
Mar. 2nd, 2016 08:06 am (UTC)
As someone unlikely to see RSL on stage anytime soon, I enjoyed the review, at any rate *g*

...so, can you reveal the 'certain action'?
Mar. 5th, 2016 12:42 am (UTC)
The character was trying to hit on someone. It was supposed to be awkward in the sense of surprising to the "hit upon" but it just fell flat. :(
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )