Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Two Slacker Children Disrupt Family

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Two Slacker Children Disrupt Family

Article excerpt

THEATER REVIEW

A FAMILY FOR ALL OCCASIONS

New off-Broadway play, presented by the Labyrinth Theater Company at the Bank Street Theater, 155 Bank St.

Written by Bob Glaudini. Directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

With Jeffrey DeMunn, Deirdre O'Connell, William Jackson Harper, Justine Lupe and Charlie Saxton.

Schedule: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets: $50. 212-513-1080, or labtheater.org

The tacit deal that a playwright makes with the audience is that if we pay close attention, he or she will make it worth our while.

It isn't hard to get right into stride with Bob Glaudini's drama "A Family For All Occasions," which opened Monday night under the gritty direction of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Unfortunately - ultimately -- Glaudini doesn't fulfill his half of the bargain.

A big reason we instantly connect with his characters is that, in the 90-seat Bank Street Theater, we're practically sharing their living room with them. (When somebody sits at a table repairing a lamp right under your nose, the mundane becomes transfixing.)

The household is headed by Howard (Jeffrey DeMunn), a retired electrician - he seems too young and healthy to be sitting around the house all day -- who's a pushover for his two wretched grown children.

Sam (Charlie Saxton) is a sullen, disrespectful slob who emerges from his room -- where he's working on a computer-game program that he believes will win him a college scholarship -- only to sneer at his supportive father and to slurp down bowls of cereal.

The leggy, blonde Sue (Justine Lupe) is an unemployed whiner, as spoiled and churlish as her brother. Her prime interest is casual sex.

Howard's wife, May (Deirdre O'Connell), who works in a box factory, married him after his first wife left, and raised his two children from toddler-hood.

She's considerably more clear-eyed about the grievous family dynamic than Howard -- something the marvelous O'Connell transmits instantly with the curled tightness of her mouth. …

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