Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Early Preview of The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters

Playwrights Horizons invited me to attend and write about an early preview of The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters by Marlane Meyer. I say this to make clear that I'm not breaking any press embargoes. The show wasn't really for me, so I want to explore why that is rather than just give a review because as I said, it was one of the first previews.

Aubrey (Laura Heisler) gets out of her small western town to become a doctor but she comes back to open a free clinic. She starts to date her high school crush Calvin (Rob Campbell). There are a number of other eccentric characters, all played by the four other people in the cast (Candy Buckley, Haynes Thigpen, Danny Wolohan, and Jacqueline Wright), who all do an impressive job of making each character distinct. It seems like a straightforward enough story, but I struggled to make sense of it all. The tone is very over-the-top, but towards the end it seemed like we were supposed to feel something for the characters, which I had trouble doing. And when the characters make political statements and look at the audience, I wasn't sure if those were supposed to be taking seriously or if that was Meyer's way of making fun of characters used as a mouthpiece for the playwright.

Not that we can always know what a playwright intends or that it matters in how we experience a play, but in this case I wanted to know what Meyer was going for. I always appreciate the material Playwrights Horizons has material available on the website about their playwrights. I listened to interviews with Meyer, and she says Patron Saint is a love story and it's about trying to work out your dumb ideas about love and how you trick yourself. I did get that from the story, but the way it was told alienated me.

Discount Tickets to The Patron Saint of Sea Monsters
Regular run: October 18-December 1
Tues-Fri at 7:30, Sat at 2 & 7:30, Sun at 2 & 7
Order by Nov. 5 and use the code SAINTBLOG
$40 (reg. $60) for all performances Oct. 18-Dec. 1
Call Ticket Center at (212) 279-4200 noon to 8 p.m. daily
In person: Ticket Central Box Office, 416 W. 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenues

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