Friday, December 19, 2014

Quick Hit Off-Broadway Review: Lost Lake


Lost Lake
By David Auburn
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Manhattan Theatre Club
NY City Center Stage I

What's It All About?
The newest from playwright David Auburn (Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof and The Columnist) and director Daniel Sullivan, starring Oscar nominee John Hawkes ("The Sessions, "Winter’s Bone") and Tracie Thoms (Rent, TV's “Cold Case.”). Veronica (Thomas) rents a shabby lake cabin (scenic design by J. Michael Griggs, who gets kudos for a slick scenery change trick) for a vacation with her kids, but property owner Hogan (Hawkes) doesn't follow through on work he promised to complete around the house. In fact, he sort of doesn't really vacate the place since he has no place to go except for his truck. Things get even more uncomfortable when it appears that Hogan may have let the property without his brother and sister-in-law's blessing and Veronica might not be willing to pay the balance of her rental fee, especially since she just lost her job under difficult circumstances. An unusual friendship grows between the two adults who both are lost in their own ways and trying to find acceptance.

What are the Highlights?
Good performances and tight direction.

What Are the Lowlights?
Much of the premise is unlikely. Given the less-than-cozy state of the cabin, what's the likelihood that a mom, who goes out of her way to check the place out in person, would book the place, especially when she has looked at other rentals that are nicer? What's the likelihood that she would stay when repairs haven't been made and the heat doesn't work? What is the likelihood that she would allow Hogan to keep showing up, particularly when she discovers he ha been sleeping in his truck on the property and at one point when he shows up drunk. What's the likelihood that these two would end up being friends? Perhaps that last question is the one that fuels the play -- an interesting study of how to people from different backgrounds and lifestyles can both feel lost and find something in common despite circumstances. The rest of the questions are answered by "if not, there would be no play."

More Information:
Design team includes: Jess Goldstein (costume design), Robert Perry (lighting design), and Fitz Patton (original music & sound design).


Christians might also like to know:
-- Language
-- God's name use din vain

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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