(Als’s article appeared in the New Yorker, 8/24.)
Annie Baker’s “John” (a Signature Theatre Company production, at the Pershing Square) is so good on so many levels that it casts a unique and brilliant light. It’s a handsome object, “old” in structure. While most new plays run for two hours or less—about the length of a TV movie—Baker’s fourth full-length original script clocks in at three hours and fifteen minutes, the running time of, say, a short, late-career Eugene O’Neill drama. By not rushing things—by letting the characters develop as gradually and inevitably as rain or snowfall—Baker returns us to the naturalistic but soulful theatre that many of her contemporaries and near-contemporaries have disavowed in their rush to be “postmodern.”
Stage Voices Publishing for archived posts and sign up for free e-mail updates: http 2015:// www.stagevoices.com/ . If you would like to contribute a review, monologue, or other work related to theatre, please write to Bob Shuman at Bobjshuman@gmail.com.