Magazine article The Nation

The Widow's Blind Date

Magazine article The Nation

The Widow's Blind Date

Article excerpt

If my enthusiasm for the Widow's Blind Date is less, my absorption in the performance at the original, downtown branch of Circle in the Square was entire. As in so many plays of Ibsen (a theatrical ancestor in homage to whom Horovitz has written an engaging comedy Year of the Duck), the action of the play lies mainly in the slow unearthing of a buried sin. In this case it is the gang rape, at age 17, of the widow of the title, a successful academic who has returned years later to confront two of her rapists, who are mired in dead-end jobs in the industrial Rustbelt town of Wakefield, Massachusetts.

Horovitz is reputed to have an unerring ear for the language of blue-collar yobs. I can't judge the inerrancy of his ear, since my own knowledge of that milieu is based more on other dramatic works than on firsthand experience. Paul O'Brien plays the basically decent and still self-respecting Archie, and Tom Bloom is George, a lout of the lowest degree. As they sweep the floor and accomplish the task of exposition, their dialogue seems plausible, though not inherently entertaining. When Margy, the widow (played by Christine Estabrook), arrives, the play gets a lot more interesting, in large part because of her very strange behavior, alternately taunting and enticing. She knows what they've done, and they know, but for a good act and a half, they pussyfoot around this knowledge, and while, in hindsight, there is a kind of rationale for these elaborate duplicities, I couldn't keep from supposing it was really the dramatist's expository convenience being served. …

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