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a Comedy
by Lisa D’Amour

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 4628

SHOWING : September 19, 2014 - October 19, 2014



Fire up the grill…and expect fireworks!

A Pulitzer Prize Finalist and one of The New York Times top ten plays of 2012! In a suburb of a mid-sized American city, Ben and Mary see sudden signs of life at the deserted house next door and invite their new neighbors Sharon and Kenny over for a cookout. But as this foursome bonds over backyard barbecues, the neighborly connection they find threatens to unravel the lives they’ve built and change them forever. Ecstatic and dangerously funny, "Detroit" rips up the floorboards to reveal the racing heart under the suburban dream.

Director Lisa Adler
Sharon Kylie Brown
Ben Mark Cabus
Mary Carolyn Cook
Kenny Adam Fristoe
Frank Tom Thon
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


by playgoer
Saturday, September 20, 2014
NOTE: The following is based on the final preview performance of "Detroit."
Lisa D’Amour’s "Detroit" takes place in the adjoining backyards of two suburban houses. Both are modest (at least in the scenic design of Isabel A. and Moriah Curley-Clay), with one definitely more deteriorated than the other. The space works well for the staging, but not all details seem right. The better-kept house of Ben and Mary has plastic geraniums in a window box, which makes the disparaging mention of a plastic plant next door ring not quite true, and the interior behind glass doors seems to contain only wallpaper and a mismatched flower painting rather than any usable space.

Mary Parker’s lighting design provides all the requisite effects needed by the script, and props designers Kate Bidwell LaFoy and Heather Cap have gone all-out to provide the trick umbrella and lawn chairs that the script also requires. (The script makes a LOT of production demands.) Mike Post’s sound design, though, doesn’t seem to do a particularly effective job of setting up the action for any scenes except the last. A lot of this failure, I believe, is due to the play’s too-specific stage directions that may have been too slavishly followed.

The script starts and ends with the recitation of dreams Mary has had. All the other characters also have dreams they relate, some nighttime sleeping dreams and some unfulfilled wishes for real life. All the weirdness eventually becomes tiresome. Some of the audience seemed to delight in the absurdist comedy of the show, while another couple of people left during the middle of the show. The two couples (Mary and Ben; Sharon and Kenny) are both facing economic troubles, and no one faces them head-on. Their off-kilter reactions ("Let’s go camping!" "Let’s go to a strip club!") drive the play, often in unexpected directions.

Performances are generally quite good, with Carolyn Cook (Mary) the standout in terms of line delivery and spot-on reactions. Kylie Brown (Sharon) and Adam Fristoe (Kenny) have seemingly been cast for their all-American looks, against type for a couple of recovering drug addicts. Mark Cabus (Ben) has been cast apparently for his comic look. Nothing quite rings true. There’s an apology when Sharon first lets loose with a four-letter word, but then the others start using equivalent or worse profanity quite freely. It gets cheap laughs, but it seems fairly pointless. The denouement of the play, introducing a new character played by Tom Thon, comes across as flat and extended.

As usual, director Lisa Adler sees a connection between this play and the world at large, using it as evidence "that the human spirit is resilient." To me, it seems entirely too idiosyncratic to relate in any meaningful way to the lives we lead. Playwright Lisa D’Amour definitely has a vivid imagination, but I’m not sure it has led to a play of great pertinence and relevance to today’s world. Some of its issues are based in the real world, but the only solution provided for the characters’ problems seems to be "go with the flow." There’s an aimlessness in the behavior of all the characters. It may sound good for a moment or two to say that when you’re reduced to zero, the possibilities are unlimited, but upon reflection that’s a rather hollow comfort. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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