Beyond Therapy at the Waterbury Center

There are lines in the play that may have been com- prehensible in 1987, but which never got the laughter they deserved because, for one instance, the reference in a line goes back to the 1920s and 1930s. I'm speaking here of a reference to Marie of Rumania, who became synonymous for all royalty exiled to the United States (there is a whole genre of drawing-room comedies in 1930s American films about penurious aristocrats). With all the geopolitical changes of the last 30 years, there certainly must be a ruler around who's well enough known to substitute for the now-forgotten Marie. There are several other references which escape my mind right now, but they too are odd and out of time, and did not result in any laughter either. It doesn't mean a playwright has to a text, but subtle updates might be called for in places.

As I watched the play, I realized that the performances given by the members of this cast can, for the most part, focus on the whole or just one particular quality of a character that Durang has brought to life. For example, Megan Carder gave an excellent accounting of Mrs. Charlotte Wallace, one of the two therapists in the show. She hit all the right notes, scoring a great reaction from the audience. Her performance contained so many original idiosyncratic touches it lit up the stage.

On the other hand, Jason P. Lorber's portrayal of Bruce, the plays protagonist, was too physically and vocally ambivalent from the outset, thereby undercutting some of the humor of the play.

At least, thank goodness, he was not as overly aware of the fact that his character and his portrayal of same were supposed to be "funny," the way that Geoffrey Stewart was with his characterization of Dr. Stuart Framingham. Stewart did not seem the least bit amusing to me, and his relationship with Prudence (Jana Beagley) was far too aggressive to be funny or to be taken as ambivalent. Maybe the cowboy shirt, jeans, and boots were meant to help him find his character, but they didn't.

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