We Were Children
Written by Maia Henkin
directed by Joshua Chase Gold
Playwright Theater Festivals in New York
Hudson Guild Theater
July 26, 2016
No 💉 rating. This is about workshopping a new play
I love to go and support new work and to support the work of alumni of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. Today I was happy to attend the opening performance of We Were the Children that featured Jessie Booth. As I said above, I do not like to use my 💉 rating in that this is a BRAND new work and is really just trying to gets its legs underneath it. I simply offer some feedback from what I saw.My first favorite thing about the show was the use of orchestrated body movement early in the play when the entire cast worked to move and support the protagonist (much like Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). It became a very short, beautiful ballet. I wish this had been continuted.
The other most interesting feature of the play was the touches of homoerotic love between the protagonist and his “evil” alter ego. I found this display of “self-love/self-eroticism” to be very fascinating. If I were the writer, I would certainly explore this element. I loved the music and the projections. This really brought the play into our laps.
On the flip side, this play was too long for a young playwright. I always think early plays you should stay within fifteen minutes so that the audience is begging for more. This was too long with too many characters and covered too much ground. I want to see characters develop and struggle and become something new. I want to experience people and not issues.
This play dealt with way too many teen issues: guns, cutting, rape, peer pressure, eating disorders, bullying, and on and on. Unfortunately, it almost became comical the number of problems these teens were experiencing. The poetry and the monologues worried me. I am always worried when characters speak to the audience before we know or care about them as people. I am also worried about playing teen stereotypes. If a play is going to present them as stereotypes – – and this play certainly did – then, as I did, I am going to ask why? Why did you need to use stereotypes? What NEW are you saying about these people.
I love new work!