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When We Were Young and Unafraid

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GilmoreGirlO2
Broadway Star
joined:4/13/05
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/21/14 at 02:49pm
Performances begin tonight - anyone going? Considering it to possibly see on an upcoming trip and very interested to hear about it!
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broadwaybelter
Broadway Legend
joined:11/26/04
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/21/14 at 05:24pm
I'll be there Sunday
AC126748 Profile Photo
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/21/14 at 05:42pm
Sunday for me, as well.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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FloydJoe2
Understudy
joined:4/28/14
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/21/14 at 10:06pm
I'll be there tomorrow night and shall report back.
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FloydJoe2
Understudy
joined:4/28/14
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/24/14 at 10:32am
It pains me to say this because I adore Cherry Jones and Pam MacKinnon but the show was just bad. I had really high hopes for it as well. I figured after the so so "Commons of Pensacola" and the god awful "Tales From Red Vienna" that MTC would go out with a bang to finish their off broadway season. Alas, they didn't. The performers are game, but the script doesn't allow for much. The show itself centers around Cherry Jones running a bed and breakfast but how she also helps abused wives have a place to stay to get away from their husbands. The first act is entirely blank of any conflict or action. Act two doesn't get much better though but adds a tad more conflict to the story. The dialogue is absolutely cringeworthy and I squirmed in my seat throughout must of the show. Their is also a second, extremely undeveloped plot line, centering on Cherise Boothe's character joining a woman's revolution and how she wants Cherry Jones to sleep with her and join the revolution. Very manufactured and completely random.

***SPOILER LINE***

One part in Act Two has Zoe Kazan's character, who is an abused wife, describing what happened to her so Cherry Jones' daughter, played by Morgan Saylor, doesn't run away with the captain of the football team. One line is "I used to be such a good girl and now all I imagine at night is that I have a penis and I am raping everyone." Disgusting. I so wanted this to be good.

***END SPOILER***
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AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/24/14 at 04:31pm
Yikes. This sounds like a mess based on what's been posted here and elsewhere. FloydJoe2, what was the running time? I'm trying to make plans for after the show tomorrow and it would help to know.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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FloydJoe2
Understudy
joined:4/28/14
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/24/14 at 08:49pm
AC126748, running time is 2:25 including the intermission.
RJ COMMUNICATIONS
Swing
joined:7/6/10
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/25/14 at 10:25pm
I'm with you, Floyd. Your comments are right on the money: this was just awful. I would pay another $32
to find out what they did to Cherry Jones to get her involved with this stinker.
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AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/26/14 at 09:27am
I had to cover my mouth to stifle a laugh when Kazan said the line GloudJoe2 alludes to in his post. This is as bad as bad writing gets--a freshman in an intro class could come up with better dialogue, not to mention a more coherent plot. No character development, and the characters played by Cherise Booth and Patch Darragh are little more than mouth-pieces for feminist theory and traditional values, respectively. The actress who plays Jones' daughter was not good, speaking her lines so quickly it was often hard to decipher the words.

I can only assume that Cherry Jones owes someone at MTC a favor.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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broadwaybelter
Broadway Legend
joined:11/26/04
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/26/14 at 11:45am
In all fairness, this play was given a top-notch cast, director, and production, but failed to do much else. I can say I was never bored, but certainly not very interested. The play has a very interesting conceit, but very poor execution.
AC126748 Profile Photo
AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/26/14 at 11:52am
In all fairness, this play was given a top-notch cast, director, and production, but failed to do much else.

The play's the thing, though, and it just goes to show how even the best artists in their fields cannot fix a work that's truly problematic. It's hard to believe this even made it to the main stage, with or without a star of Cherry Jones' caliber.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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broadwaybelter
Broadway Legend
joined:11/26/04
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 5/26/14 at 12:27pm
Right, right. Well, sista's gotta pay the bills...
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/2/14 at 08:37am
I saw this yesterday afternoon and agree with most of what has been written about the play. The first act just plugs along without ever going anywhere. It wasn't unwatchable, but it wasn't engaging either. The tone shifted wildly, more due to the performances than the text, depending who was on stage. It went from attempted sobering drama to CBS multi-cam sitcom in the blink of an eye.

There's also so much stage business going on, and it distracts rather than enhances. Perhaps McKinnon, knowing the weaknesses of the script, decided to gussy it up with all the trimming, but all I could focus on was Cherry Jones mixing batter and baking pumpkin cardamon muffins.

Act two was better, but only in comparison and simply because things started to happen. I thought Cherry's acting in the final two seasons was impressive.

The one thing I disagree with others about is wondering why Jones chose to do the play in the first place, and this does come with a slight spoiler so.......


I think the obvious draw for Jones is getting the chance to play a lesbian character in a play that dealt heavily with women's rights/feminist thought. Perhaps she identifies with the character and it certainly makes a personal statement that her other roles haven't allowed for. It's not a good play, but I get why she'd want the part.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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AC126748
Broadway Legend
joined:7/15/06
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/2/14 at 02:36pm
*spoiler


But I feel like the play frustratingly toys with whether or not Agnes is a lesbian. Was she involved with Penny's mother, or were they both desperate women fleeing a bad situation? Was Agnes' initial rejection of Hannah a rejection of her own latent lesbianism? The text doesn't clarify anything, let alone resolve it.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
stevenycguy
Broadway Star
joined:12/7/05
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/3/14 at 09:48am
I found this a poignant and very well-acted piece. It's about people who are hurting deep down inside, and we get to learn more about each of them as everyday activities take place. The set design is great as always (what else would you expect from MTC)? Cherry Jones plays the owner of the bed & breakfast and she is certainly street smart, but she also truly cares for everyone she takes in (who had a history of abuse). The dating advice that one woman gives to the younger kid is a lot of fun to watch and had me laughing. It was poignant to see stories of pain and anguish retold so that past issues would not be repeated. The woman with the Afro was a lot of fun to watch, and we see her human side too later in Act II. Cherry Jones was a great actress - I loved her "look me in the eye" comments. A good portion of the audience gave it a standing ovation.
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Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/3/14 at 10:21am
Whizzer- your thoughts on Cherry Jones being drawn to the role are intriguing to me because I didn't come away necessarily feeling like the character- on the page- was latently homosexual, and found myself wondering if my knowledge of Jones' lesbianism somehow was influencing my interpretation of the character.

I didn't really feel like the final moments between her character and Hannah were about sexuality so much but as accepting the invitation to- for once- be "taken care of " (not in a sexual way) herself after having tried to take care of others for so long.

But dramaturgically, the message of the play was a bit of a mess so maybe I'm trying to connect dots that aren't there.
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WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/3/14 at 11:00am
SPOILER************************


I think Agnes was a lesbian and Penny's mother was a desperate woman getting out of a bad situation. She may have had somewhat bisexual, but I don't think she returned the sexual feelings Agnes had for her and that was part of the reason she abandoned them. (Of course, I am REALLY filling in the blanks here, but it's just how I saw it.)

I think her rejection of Hannah had to do with many things, but I absolutely believe there was a self-loathing element. It also struck me hard the way Cherry said, "I'm an old woman." There was a lot of pain in her voice.

MB- I agree that the hug with Hannah wasn't sexual at all, but I think the subtext certainly hung heavy in the air about her homosexuality.

For the record I don't know Cherry Jones, so I'm not speaking on her behalf, but her being a lesbian has never been a secret, and yet she isn't marching down Broadway with a rainbow flag in her hand either. I think this role was a little way for her to say to the public, this is a part of me too. A part of me that I love and am proud of. It was the equivalent of Jodie Foster's weird sort of coming out speech to me.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/3/14 at 12:20pm
Good points Whizzer- I guess I found myself feeling like if there was some sort of lesbian history to the character, Agnes wouldn't likely have been so adamant about denying "being gay" to Hannah. It's not as if the character of Agnes is conservative or living in a conservative place. I guess you could look at it as she was hurt and is now shut off, but I would hate to believe the undiscovered motive for Agnes helping women is latent unfulfilled homosexuality. It would really undercut the story in a bizarre way-- it would be interesting to hear the playwright's thoughts on this-- so many of the ideas of the play were underdeveloped and frankly a bit of a mess. I wonder if she even realizes the implications of the subtext.
kyrsten
Swing
joined:11/10/12
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/7/14 at 12:07am
Am I the only one who liked this play. I thought it was really powerful, although I will admit that the second act needs a bit of tightening up I thought the story was very fresh and something I've never seen on stage before. However, I don't understand the title.
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
When We Were Young and Unafraid
Posted: 6/7/14 at 02:44am
Whizzer, I feel you're all over the place here. You presume the obvious draw for Jones is making a statement by playing a lesbian but then you admit it's just how you see it and you're filling in the blanks. The character's sexuality is not the center of the role. If it were the thing that Jones responded most to, I imagine she'd have demanded Agnes' lesbianism be delineated more clearly. I wouldn't be surprised if Agnes' potential lesbianism interested Jones and think it most likely that the breadth of issues concerning the plight of women and girls in the 70's hit the strongest chord. I'd hope so as these are the ideas that the play trades in much more than lesbianism.

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