A TRUTH BOMB OF A PLAY by Thomas Putnam
It's a comedy. The NYT critic said it is a “clever truth bomb of a play.” Clever, yes; there are so many very funny moments. It explores family connections in creative, often surprising, ways. So...”truth.” And there are things exploding throughout. So this critic was spot on: a “clever truth bomb.”
And there's more. The critic continues claiming this play is a “powerful argument for the full humanity of women in our culture—a matter that's not as settled as we might like to think.”
It's difficult to boil down to the essence of this play, but I think at the heart, with all the veins of the other relationships feeding into it, what we have is a close look at a woman who needs to live, fully. For whatever reason, this woman has not been offered the opportunity to do so. Or maybe the opportunity was offered and she didn't—or couldn't—make the most of it.
There are three non-family characters in this story. One of them is the daughter-in-law which could be both family and non-family. The other two are...well...they are non-family and I'm not going to reveal how they play into the story; but all three have very keen, objective views of the situation in the family. When you see the play, pay attention to what these three—Jess, Tommy, and Carla—have to say about the dynamics of the family. One observes that perhaps the family members don't really view Nancy—the mother—as being alive. Jess also notes a bit later that Nancy has “articulated something she wants [and here's the real kicker] for maybe the first time in her entire life.” Remember, Nancy is in her 70's!
Carla and Tommy both offer poignant musings about this divorce after 50 years of marriage. They each re-frame the situation and see the positive in a—for the sons, at least—negative event.
There's lots to chew on in this play that is billed as a comedy while “quizzically pondering issues of love and marriage.” I hope you can join us.