|Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Goldblum and Misha Seo. Photo: Joan Marcus|
By Bruce Norris
Directed by Anna D. Shapiro
Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, Lincoln Center
What's It All About?
Vanessa Aspillaga, Mia Barron, Robin De Jesus, Jeff Goldblum, Lizbeth Mackay, Emily Meade, Mary Beth Peil, Karen Pittman and Misha Seo join Laurie Metcalf in a new play by Bruce Norris (Pulitzer-Prize winner for Clybourne Park).
When doctor-turned-politician Bill (Goldblum) is caught in a scandal, his author wife, Judy (Metcalf) stands by him, even though the prostitute he was entertaining, Becky (Aleque Reid), is in a coma and Bill might or might not have put her there by causing her head injury. His actions have a negative effect on his family. Daughter Casey (Emily Meade), who gives new meaning to the words angry, rebellious child when her college tuition money is in jeopardy, and adopted daughter Cassidy (Misha Seo), who internalizes her insecurities. Even housekeeper Pilar (Vanessa Aspillaga) gets caught in the backlash.
Bill's plight is very amusingly compared throughout the play with Cassie's school report on the dominance of females and the virtual unimportance of the male in certain species. Slides are shown on screens above the action which takes pace on a minimal in-the-round set, through which designer Todd Rosenthal creates the image of a boxing ring. A fight to the death is more what happens for the couple's marriage, especially when Judy discovers that Bill's infidelities have been many and include her best friend and his attorney, Bobbie (Mia Barron). The situation becomes more difficult when the prostitute's mother, Jackie (Lizbeth Mackay), takes her story public.
Clueless Bill just doesn't seem to understand what all the fuss is about and is surprised when women might object to his resuming his career as a gynecologist....
"What am I, a salmon?" he asks. "I'm supposed to mate once and die?"
Maybe it has something to do with how he was raised by a mother (Mary Beth Piel in one of four roles) who still thinks he can do no wrong? When he complains to his family that he isn't happy, we want to laugh him out the door.
What Are the Highlights?
Metcalf is brilliant as a woman betrayed, not only by her husband, but by her own ability to discern what is happening around her or to control it. The dialogue is witty and bitingly true. Goldblum brings enough to his reprehensible character to make him understandable if not likable. Standing out is Karen Pittman who is an absolute hoot as an Oprah-like television interviewer. I suspect I will be in the minority on this, but I liked Domesticated far more than Clybourne Park. Funny, dark stuff expertly directed. Metcalf's sharp, sarcastic dialogue contains a lot of unfinished sentences -- but we know exactly how to fill in the blanks.
What Are the Lowlights?
Some of the plot twists verge on the absurd.The second act loses steam.
Domesticated plays at the Mitzi E. Newhouse theater at Lincoln enter, 150 West 65th St., NYC. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 pm and Sunday at 3 pm. Tickets are $75 to $85: box office; telecharge.com; www.lct.org. A limited number of tickets priced at $30 are available at every performance through LincTix, LCT’s program for 21 to 35 year olds. For information and to enroll, visit LincTix.org.
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