Thursday, June 16, 2011

4000 Miles ***

The title of this new play by Amy Herzog, in an LCT3 production at the Duke, refers to the distance 21-year-old Leo (a strong Gabriel Ebert) has traveled on a cross-country bicycle ride that ends with his unexpected 3 a.m. arrival at the West Village apartment of his 91-year-old grandmother Vera Joseph (the incomparable Mary Louise Wilson). [The character of Vera, a devoted Marxist, also appeared in Herzog's recent well-received play After the Revolution]. Leo has been traumatized by the death of his best friend en route, a less-than-enthusiastic reception by his girlfriend Bec (Zoe Winters), a student at Columbia, and family problems back home in St. Paul. Grandmother and hippie grandson gradually overcome their differences and grow close. Greta Lee is hilarious as Amanda, a Parsons student Leo brings home one night. The characters are vivid, the dialogue is believable and the back story is interestingly complex. One can quibble over a few plot devices, but Herzog is clearly a talented playwright. The set by Lauren Helpern perfectly captures a slightly worn apartment that hasn't changed much in 50 years. Daniel Aukin's direction in unobtrusively fine. At $20, the play is a great bargain. See it before its short run is over.
Note: If you haven't been able to get tickets, don't despair -- LCT will reopen it at the Newhouse next March).

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