Has anyone seen Harper Regan?

mar6411
Featured Actor
joined:9/19/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 02:24pm
I'm interested in any thoughts about Harper Regan (Atlantic Theater) if anyone has seen it.

Thanks!
Play Esq.
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 02:55pm
I very much enjoyed this. The cast is simply incredible (after a week of previews) and the staging minimal but inventive. The story is basically about a woman's sudden departure from her daughter and husband and her encounters before and after leaving. Except for a few scenes, the story is told in the form of two-person conversations with individuals Harper encounters.

Perhaps not the tightest writing in the world, thematically, but thoughtful and entertaining all the same.

Oh, and kudos to the Atlantic for sprucing up the joint. The theater renovations look great and the construction maintains the building's charms.

Updated On: 9/25/12 at 02:55 PM
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 03:49pm

Thanks for the quick response and good report, Play Esq.!

I'm seeing this Sunday and very much looking forward to it.

CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
mar6411
Featured Actor
joined:9/19/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 04:01pm
Yes - thanks much Play Esq.

And Growl, I'd be interested in your thoughts after you see it on Sunday.

Thanks.
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 04:18pm



(You're George W. Bush in this example, mar.)
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
mar6411
Featured Actor
joined:9/19/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 04:26pm
I would prefer not to be George W. Bush, but I understand the message. :)
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 9/25/12 at 11:25pm
It's horrible.

Boring, static, uninvolving, offputting, ugly.
mar6411
Featured Actor
joined:9/19/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/1/12 at 02:59pm
Bump
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 08:24am

I wouldn't recommend it, but with reservations.

The performances are naturalism tilted toward stilted/stylized, but the writing begs for that. It's a series of 2- to 3-person scenes 10-20 minutes apiece, and not much cumulative story develops out of them. Harper's father is dying. She lives in London and wants to visit him in Manchester before he passes. So, here's Harper asking her boss for time off. Here's Harper reaching out to her daughter. Here's Harper on a tangent with a stranger. Here's Harper on another tangent with another stranger. Here's Harper with her mom. Here's Harper with another stranger. And so on.

Moments that might be fireworks in other plays explode here with tinny bangs, which could be to the play's credit if Harper or the surrounding characters were ever involved beyond simply standing in the room as they happen. But everything unfolds at exactly the same level and pace for two hours, with characters responding to significant moments and revelations first with silent contemplation, then verbal reponses, measured to the point of phoniness. Combined with such a thin story, the viewer has precious little to grab onto.

The design is appropriately flat, gray, geometrical, and, like the play, reveals its secrets with a matter-of-factness that encourages frustration. Flip. New set. Flip. New set. Flip. New set. After a while, I was counting the flipping flats to determine how many scenes could possibly be left. It's just over two hours and feels it. (And has more scenes than you might guess by just counting the flats.)

It's not totally uninvolving. The actors are all clearly on the same page, serving the text as it should be served, and it's periodically compelling. (Mary Beth Peil stands out notably.) But as you realize you're not getting anywhere and probably aren't going to get anywhere, it becomes difficult to stay interested. The performance that was compelling 20 minutes ago is no longer compelling because it's exactly the same as it was 40 minutes ago, and the sameness becomes exhausting.

I suppose it's slice-of-life storytelling, but in my experience, slice-of-life only works if the lives spill rewards when sliced. The characters of HARPER REGAN are ostensibly changed by the final scene, but only because you know they're supposed to be. The play hints that things are going to be different... but everything still looks and sounds exactly the same.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
mar6411
Featured Actor
joined:9/19/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 08:47am
Growl,

Thanks very much for your thoughts on the show - even though After Eight already provided the definitive analysis.

Appreciate your response!
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/2/12 at 11:12am
^

Thanks for your thanks.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:36am
Thanks for your (always appreciated) detailed thoughts, Growl. I was leaning towards not seeing this until I read Mary Beth Peil was in it and now I feel like I have to go, ha.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:43am

Sure thing, Whizzer! After Eight also says thanks, as, apparently, he and I are now the same person.

You should go. It's at least cheap!
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Has anyone seen Harper Regan?
Posted: 10/3/12 at 10:45am
Please tell After Eight, "you're welcome," then for me! I'm glad to see you two have finally merged into one.

Cheap is always good.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!