Printer Friendly - The Great God Plan

The Great God Pan
Posted by RippedMan 2012-11-25 22:27:09

Saw this tonight. Not sure if it was the first preview or not, but was a random audience. A school group, Paul Dano, Dylan Baker, and Ari Gaynor all in attendance.

First off, I feel like I need to admit that I did not love 4000 Miles like everyone else did. I didn't think it tread any new ground or said anything new. That's basically how I feel about this show. It's such a slow show for being only 90 mins. I felt like it went on for forever, and nothing new was really ever said or anything.

The actors were fine. I mean, I think the wife gave the best performance. The problem is they were all directed to basically stand or - for the most part - sit there and just deliver their scenes in such a slow pace. The show is just weird. Funny at points when it didn't need to be. And I'm not sure what message was trying to be conveyed.

The set is awful. I guess it's suppose to be a "puzzle" since the word "puzzle" was used a few times, but for some reason it's just a big square with forest wallpaper. At the top of the show I could not for the life of me understand why they were sitting and drinking coffee in the middle of a forrest.

Most shows at Playwrights are so lavishly produced. I was a little disappointed with this one. The set was shoddily put together. The center line of the set is crooked, so it kept bugging me all night. The wallpaper was pealing in places. It was just bad.

Anyway, what did everyone else think?

The Great God Plan
Posted by eperkins 2012-11-25 22:55:00

Assuming you mean PAN not PLAN

The Great God Plan
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-12-04 18:24:59

I saw the show on Sunday and really, really enjoyed it. Playwrights Horizons is on a pretty strong winning streak lately (even if I personally didn't enjoy DETROIT, the critics clearly did).

Yes, it's slow, but I think the pacing actually works to the show's benefit, instead of being a detriment. It's a rare instance in which the slow burn of the piece and the disjoined scenes actually add up to something interesting and worth seeing. I went in totally blind, not knowing anything about the show besides that it was by Amy Herzog (I really enjoyed 4,000 MILES). And I think that's the best way to go see this show. It does stack the deck in terms of dramatic elements (child abuse, pregnancy, depression, bulimia, homosexuality, etc) but I think the majority of these themes work within the structure of the show. I thought it was pretty absorbing, even if some of the scenes were much more well-written than others. It's uneven and definitely not perfect, but I found the stronger scenes to be some of the most interesting I've seen in a new play so far this season. The acting could not be better. Sarah Goldberg, particularly, knocked my socks off.

I say it's definitely worth catching, but I could see why it wouldn't please everyone.

The Great God Plan
Posted by RippedMan 2012-12-04 23:46:45

I don't really agree, but hey, that's what makes theater so great. Did you like the set?

The Great God Plan
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-12-05 08:53:45

Saw this Saturday night. AFTER THE REVOLUTION was a huge highlight of the 2010 season for me, so I was really looking forward to this, especially after missing 4000 MILES (twice, which I won’t soon forgive myself for).

This is a terrific new play with authentic, lived-in performances across the board. I’ll second WiCkEDrOcKS that it’s probably best to go in without reading too much about the story. To me, that’s a good general rule, but the way Herzog doles out the information here, allowing characters to casually drop little bombs that aren’t dwelt on even though they may have profound implications, makes for a strikingly empathic viewing experience. You’re working through the piece right alongside its main character.

The show is 80 minutes with no intermission. It doesn’t gallop, but I bristle at describing it as “slow.” The pacing is deliberate, but when it ended, I couldn’t believe the time had gone by. That also may have to do with my having wanted a bit more, though… not a summation or more resolution, but another scene or two somewhere. I felt about this play at the end the way I felt about SONS OF THE PROPHET, which was I’d have been happy to spend hours in the company of these characters. (Indeed, the young man at the center of the story, played by Jeremy Strong [unrecognizable from THE HALLWAY TRILOGY two seasons ago], has a fragile sensitivity in the face of great confusion that bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Santino Fontana’s character in SotP.) And the rock-solid supporting players (especially Becky Ann Baker and Peter Friedman) have such relatively limited stage time that I selfishly wanted more, if only just to savor them, not necessarily because it would be good for the play.

But that also means the piece is lean and mean, with no fat available for trimming. Herzog’s writing is ruthlessly specific and her characters’ psychologies are messy, fraught, and tangled – so, in a word, authentic. Her insights and observations are keen, and the terrain of the world she creates is not easily navigable – so, in a word, real. Don’t expect fireworks; she’s showing us shadows cast by moonlight.

Ripped, I liked the set. I’m not a tech person, so I’m not sure what you mean when you say its center line is crooked. Do you mean the main piece is not symmetrical? Nothing about it distracted me, I didn’t notice any peeling wallpaper (though I was in the last row, and my vision isn’t 20/20), and I thought the forest as a metaphor was clear from lights up. It struck me as appropriate, effective, and versatile, with – like the play – no unnecessary clutter.

The Great God Plan
Posted by WiCkEDrOcKS 2012-12-05 11:05:30

I appreciated, but didn't love, the set. I thought the conceit behind it made sense, but the execution was a bit shoddy. I sorta kept waiting for a big moment where it all flew off into the wings to reveal some incredible set hidden behind it.

The Great God Plan
Posted by Quick-change 2012-12-05 22:20:55

I really liked AFTER THE REVOLUTION and 4000 MILES, so I was really looking forward to this show as well, but I was pretty disappointed. I do think that Amy Herzog is a talent and I'm going to see BELLEVILLE when it plays this spring at NY Theater Workshop. I'm also a big fan of most things that I've seen at Playwrights Horizons, so it was a double disappointment.

In my opinion I don't think it ever really came together -- it certainly didn't affect me as much as 4000 MILES, SONS Of THE PROPHET(themysteriousgrowl), or TRIBES. I think that those were "small" shows about big things. I think this wanted to be that but it wasn't as successful. I also didn't care for the main actor and wanted more from the supporting cast. It seemed a tad all over the place in my opinion. And I bristled at a lot of the gay content -- it felt like a well intentioned straight person who doesn't fully get it. There were so many references to the gay character as being weird and strange, and in many ways he seemed to be the most together -- hmmm, maybe that was the point?

The set didn't bother me in the same way that it bothered you, RippedMan but it seemed a little obvious and frankly uncomfortable -- but again, maybe the point.

The Great God Plan
Posted by RippedMan 2012-12-06 03:41:27

Agreed, Wicked. I kept thinking, oh it'll all make sense in the end, but nothing happened with it. It just made for some really awkward entrances and exists.

I wasn't a fan of the play. I just didn't think it provided any new information on the subject matter that hasn't really been discussed. I think the performances are strong, but that's what happens when you assemble a bunch of great actors.