Sunday, October 02, 2005
A NAKED GIRL ON THE APPIAN WAY
The first -- amusing -- act sets up a prosperous couple living in a spacious home in the Hamptons with two of their three children on vacation together in Europe.
She is an author of cookbooks with a public presence and a demeanor not unlike (say, for example) Martha Stewart trying her best to be cheerful.
He is a rapacious businessman, always cheerful, with the charming forgetfulness of an absent minded professor, writing a book about how culture helps to bring out the best in business.
In the second act hilarious reality sets in as the children come home.
Reality here is a relative term. These people are nothing if not the ultimate professionals at creating the reality they want to believe they are living in.
It's a very interesting play, with a rich subtext. Jill Clayburgh and Richard Thomas, as the couple, find layers of complexity in their comic characters. The children and neighbors deliver many powerful jokes. The house is airy and beautiful, but it has some alien quality about it that gives it character.
The theater itself, by the way, is one of the most comfortable on Broadway / 42nd Street.
When I saw A Naked Girl On the Appian Way at an early preview, I had some reservations about some of the details, but after some days went by it was only the fun and the jokes and the subtext that stayed with me. That's the test of a fine play and great performances. It should be one of the hits of the season.