The Inheritance - Previews

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The Inheritance - Previews#226
Posted: 11/6/19 at 5:16pm

Moderator said: "Ok, folks. Kindly dispense with the bickering. It is derailing what otherwise was a robust, thoughtful discussion of the play. We tried to let the personal back-and-forth go for a little bit, but it never circled back to the topic at hand. So, we deleted those unnecessary messages. If you would like to continue to post in this thread, please make it about "The Inheritance" and not each other. Each other's opinions, sure, but nothing personal beyond that.

If you feel that someone is engaging in threatening or inappropriate private messages, we encourage you to use the report function in the message itself in order to send it to the admin team.

Thank you for the conversation on the show otherwise.
"

I’m sorry for being a part of that. Thank you for removing those messages. 

SouthernCakes
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The Inheritance - Previews#227
Posted: 11/6/19 at 5:17pm
Agreed Kad! It was like a clown car!
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The Inheritance - Previews#228
Posted: 11/7/19 at 9:44am

Saw Parts 1 & 2 this week. Maybe it’s a case of not living up to the hype but add me to the chorus of disappointed folk. I found it saccharine, meandering & overall dull. I'd go into detail but I think Kad & clever2 did a much better job of articulating my feelings on the show. I am in total agreement with them.

There's a decent show in there somewhere but it's being smothered by the bloated soap opera full of rather unlikable characters. Majorly disappointed. And truly stupefied by the London raves. I can’t believe I was watching the same show.
 

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The Inheritance - Previews#229
Posted: 11/7/19 at 9:52am
I’m fascinated that a play I loved reading is being received so poorly. I don’t doubt the opinions being shared, but it must read better than they have produced it. Am I crazy?
I am big. It’s the REVIVALS that got small.
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haterobics
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The Inheritance - Previews#230
Posted: 11/7/19 at 9:58am

I'm completely confounded whether to spend an entire day, and good chunk of change, to see this show... usually with polarizing shows, I can sort of sort out which side I'm likely to land. But not this one. Ack.

iwuldwf
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The Inheritance - Previews#231
Posted: 11/7/19 at 10:02am

Kad said: "(I also think the ending of Part 1 is manipulative, and went on long enough to become somewhat absurd- and a staging concept that has zero payoff in the second part)."

100000% agree.  It was definitely manipulative and didn't necessarily feel earned (as others have discussed), but that moment still got to me... and then it kept going, and going, and going, and going.  It was so long that most of the people who started crying in my area stopped sniffling well before it was over.  It became clear that Daldry was bringing on enough actors to fill three sides of the rectangle, which just made me annoyed.  He must have known it was too long, but did it anyway just to get the closing visual he wanted?

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The Inheritance - Previews#232
Posted: 11/7/19 at 10:08am

GiantsInTheSky2 said: "I’m fascinated that a play I loved reading is being received so poorly. I don’t doubt the opinions being shared, but it must read better than they have produced it. Am I crazy?"

No, you are in the same position I was. I read the UK script shortly after the play's London debut and very much liked it. This production, though, illuminated for me all its flaws as a dramatic work. The austere and very British staging and the relentless "this is an IMPORTANT PLAY" hype do it no favors, either.  

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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The Inheritance - Previews#233
Posted: 11/7/19 at 10:14am

haterobics said: "I'm completely confounded whether to spend an entire day, and good chunk of change, to see this show... usually with polarizing shows, I can sort of sort out which side I'm likely to land. But not this one. Ack."

I mean if you want to see it you should see it. I will say, based on the London reviews I seem to be in the minority. Although the friend I went with had similar feelings to mine. (Actually he enjoyed Part 2 more. I didn't care for either.)

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The Inheritance - Previews#234
Posted: 11/7/19 at 10:27am

mattyp4 said: "I mean if you want to see it you should see it. I will say, based on the London reviews I seem to be in the minority. Although the friend I went with had similar feelings to mine. (Actually he enjoyed Part 2 more. I didn't care for either.)"

I do want to see it, IF I'm in the group that loves it? Heh, but I only have one shot to see it, so I guess I should just lock in and do it...

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The Inheritance - Previews#235
Posted: 11/7/19 at 3:20pm

Saw both parts last weekend, Friday then Saturday night. It was the most self-serving, self-indulgent, over stuffed, meandering, and preachy piece I've seen. And damn is it also great. I've read all the reviews in this thread and I'd say I agree with, well, all of them. The positive and the negative, it's all there. This show has MOMENTS that are all-timers for drama and intensity. And it has plots and scenes that get too cute, try too hard, and go on far too long. There is a superb 3 hour story in this 7 hour show. Those bits I keep thinking about and string together into one coherent thread that has me thinking back fondly. I want to see it again just for those moments and scenes. Then I remember the other stuff.

It's hard to overlook the bad parts, they outweigh the good part in terms of showtime. The speeches go on too long, the philosophical banter draws away from the plot, and the sex scenes... I was not prepared for just how explicitly pornographic they were, though mostly in verbal description. There is some great acting, and some surprisingly bad acting. Sometimes the same actor would go from bad to great depending on the scene/character they were inhabiting.

Overall it felt like a first draft. Everything thought that Lopez had was written down and then just left in. Cheeky jokes about long plays with two intermissions (as this is) were funny but in the wrong way. The show would be better served by cutting those and other unnecessary bits. I can understand why the script reads well, it felt like a novel being read to me rather than a story being shown to me. When I did get the story in traditional format (the format changes A LOT) I was engaged and invested in the characters.

This was a great show mixed in with a bunch of garbage. For me, it was ultimately worth it to sift through the garbage for the great. I did not feel that way after Part I, but after seeing both parts I did. I had to have the completed story to feel satisfied that I found the great show within.

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The Inheritance - Previews#236
Posted: 11/7/19 at 9:17pm

Jordan Catalano said: "I saw part one last night, almost exactly one year after seeing it on the west end. When part one ended last year, I remember sitting there almost shellshocked and still crying, as people were leaving the theatre. And my reaction last night was virtually the same. So many things I had forgotten that triggered an instantaneous emotional reaction from me. When the chair was brought out for Walter at the end of act one I started crying knowing I was about to see again one of the greatest monologues I’ll ever see live on stage. When the house was first mentioned, when the letter was shown to Henry, when Eric gets out of the car at the end and many more. So many scenes and moments that are written, performed and staged so simply and so beautifully that even though I’d forgotten them they came rushing back to me in the moment.

Is it a perfect play? I don’t know, does it need to be?
Is it a perfect play to me? Yes. Very much so, it is. I feel a lot of dissection of the play is from people (not everyone but a lot) not wanting it to be as good as people say it is, which is a shame. I find it hard to put into words just how much it moves me or even how I feel about it in general. But the somber collective and communal experience I had with everyone else at the Barrymore last night shows me that I’m not alone in my praise and my admiration for it and I hope more people grow to feel the same way.
"

Thank you for your posting. I saw The Inheritance at the Young Vic. My reactions were very similar to yours. I don't understand a lot of the other comments here, but I do understand the way the play made me (and the audience around me) feel and am happy that there are others who continue to respond similarly. 

I think Dominic Cavendish's review in The Telegraph is as spot on as any review is likely to be. Here it is:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/inheritance-young-vic-reviewperhaps-important-american-play/

 

Updated On: 11/7/19 at 09:17 PM
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The Inheritance - Previews#237
Posted: 11/8/19 at 7:00am

Have only seen Part 1.edit message

I see both sides of this debate. This play is as great as it is execrable.  I sat there often struck by genius but just as often annoyed beyond measure.  The humor though occasionally brilliant is generally insipid.  The ending - I will probably be massacred for this -  is manipulative and cloyingly sentimental; a case of more being so much less.  Eric's arrival at the house would have been so much more affecting if the author had respected the audience's hearts and minds to grasp Eric's spiritual communion without hitting us over the head with it.  The iconic final tableau (a pastiche of a famous religious painting) is ridiculous.

But then there are scenes of exquisite structure when Lopez smartly knows exactly what he's doing and writes with great truth and feeling which match and earn his inventiveness. Lopez's idea -  interpolating Howards End and Forster's own life in this multigenerational story of gay late 20th and early 21st century life in New York is a visionary one.  The cast that invests every fiber of their being.  The two most captivating (in each case double) roles go to Samuel H. Levine and Paul Hilton. Both are outstanding.

 




 

Updated On: 11/8/19 at 07:00 AM
KingGeorgeIII
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The Inheritance - Previews#238
Posted: 11/8/19 at 9:20am

I generally liked the play, but found myself disappointed in Eric's characterization. Margaret Schlegel from Howards End is one of the most captivating and complicated characters I've encountered. Eric, on the other hand, is the gay version of a fake-woke basic Becky. Nothing about what he actually does in the play suggests that he should be Walter's spiritual heir. His gay history speech in Act II was hardly a cri de coeur (notice that we have to be told, not shown, that this speech is important), but rather a shallow treatment of a much more complex and interesting discussion about how to transmit gayness from one generation to another. His invocation of Marsha Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Islan Nettles I think says less about Eric's actual righteousness as a person and more about a need for the playwright to prove to the audience that his main character is a GOOD PERSON.

Updated On: 11/8/19 at 09:20 AM
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The Inheritance - Previews#239
Posted: 11/8/19 at 11:14am
Kyle Soller seems to be a very talented actor. Eric Glass is as flat as a pancake. He simply isn’t interesting. He’s rather a Chamaeleon, isn’t he? Adapting to who ever is the most influential person in his life at the moment, reflecting their opinions and viewpoints. standing up for them if necessary, even at the cost of his circle of friends. I kind of see Eric as a gold digger and I think that opinion is pretty arguable. I think Kyle has the chops to make Eric pleasant enough company but there’s no character there. Toby dominates part two and it’s clear which character the playwright prefers. Loves. And what Andrew Burnap is doing with that role, the journey he takes through the play, his very clear arc. It’s rather exquisite and I can’t wait to see this actor in other things. It’s just such a damn shame that the most predictable thing possible happens to Toby in the end, following that magnificent monologue. I think that may sum up the play. Magnificent moment, followed by crap and maybe some more crap, magnificent moment, a lot more crap, magnificent moment. I don’t know. I’m seeing it for the third time at the end of the month. So I’m clearly the insane one here.
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The Inheritance - Previews#240
Posted: 11/8/19 at 11:55am

It seems like I am doing alternate programming by seeing this on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but any word on where to sit/not sit? Be sure to be close? Mezzanine is amazing? What's the good word?

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The Inheritance - Previews#241
Posted: 11/8/19 at 11:57am

I don't think there's really a bad seat for this. I sat last row of the orch, house left, for Part 1, and second row center of the second half of mezz for Part 2. Both were great views. 

There isn't much of the way of set and everything is played front and center.

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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The Inheritance - Previews#242
Posted: 11/8/19 at 1:29pm

Kad said: "I don't think there's really a bad seat for this. I sat last row of the orch, house left, for Part 1, and second row center of the second half of mezz for Part 2. Both were great views.

There isn't much of the way of set and everything is played front and center.
"

Thanks, Kad. I do like to be on the close side, since the lights wash people out a bit more when i sit further back after I had LASIK.

But I will wait a bit, as I do think the Thanksgiving weekend will be not everyone's desired timing for this, so I'll try and play that angle.

I knew the set was simple, but wasn't sure whether it was deceptively simple, and ended up being some hydraulic masterpiece or something like Cirque du Soleil Ka?! heh

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The Inheritance - Previews#243
Posted: 11/8/19 at 11:38pm

haterobics said: "It seems like I am doing alternate programming by seeing this on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but any word on where to sit/not sit? Be sure to be close? Mezzanine is amazing? What's the good word?"

As someone who has sat front row center for both parts, I would really recommend choosing seats from the fourth row onward. The set is a square platform. The first and second rows are obstructed view for anything happening upstage. Moments played downstage were just fine and there were moments that were truly lovely to be so close to. However, if you want a real view of the action and it’s entirety, I wouldn’t go any closer than the fourth row. 

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The Inheritance - Previews#244
Posted: 11/9/19 at 1:10am
Plus you might get a used Q-Tip or pizza box thrown at you :)
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The Inheritance - Previews#245
Posted: 11/9/19 at 1:36am

Chowd95 said: "Plus you might get a used Q-Tip or pizza box thrown at you :)"

True story. 

Come to think of it....and please let me know if I’m misremembering this....isn’t Adam the only character who ever directly involves the audience? 

I’m not talking about any of the narrative language that stretches through the whole thing. And not climbing over the seats or dropping off the stage, pretending the audience isn’t there. I mean in the sense that both actor and character are acknowledging the audience in a way that admits, “Yes, we’re at the Barrymore in New York and this is only a play.” And isn’t it only in the Prague bathhouse scene that this ever happens? 

Two moments come to mind. The Q-Tip bit where Adam cleans his ears and tosses it out at the audience. And the end of the Prague story regarding the hiv scare when Adam buries his face in his hands, sobbing, thoroughly convincing Toby of his vulnerability, before turning away and looking directly at the audience with a smug nasty grin. As if to say, “I fooled him, you’re in on it, and this is our little secret.” 

Oh! Yes, and an actor sitting downstage left at the “table” does toss a book out to the first couple rows  

Are there any other moments like that in the play? From Adam or anyone? It seems very odd to have an actor essentially break character for two bits in one scene and another actor break character for one bit much much much later in the play. Should a choice like that be more reoccurring, as in should it be a committed part of the vision rather than just a couple larks?

Again, if there are more and I’m not remembering, please let me know  

 

Updated On: 11/9/19 at 01:36 AM
Owen22
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The Inheritance - Previews#246
Posted: 11/9/19 at 6:53am

It's good to see I'm not alone. Seeing this audacious but very flawed play in London and then seeing the critics' raves there....I thougjt I was losing my mind!

Updated On: 11/9/19 at 06:53 AM
Owen22
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The Inheritance - Previews#247
Posted: 11/9/19 at 7:04am

Eddie3 said: "Jordan Catalano said: "I saw part one last night, almost exactly one year after seeing it on the west end. When part one ended last year, I remember sitting there almost shellshocked and still crying, as people were leaving the theatre. And my reaction last night was virtually the same. So many things I had forgotten that triggered an instantaneous emotional reaction from me. When the chair was brought out for Walter at the end of act one I started crying knowing I was about to see again one of the greatest monologues I’ll ever see live on stage. When the house was first mentioned, when the letter was shown to Henry, when Eric gets out of the car at the end and many more. So many scenes and moments that are written, performed and staged so simply and so beautifully that even though I’d forgotten them they came rushing back to me in the moment.

Is it a perfect play? I don’t know, does it need to be?
Is it a perfect play to me? Yes. Very much so, it is. I feel a lot of dissection of the play is from people (not everyone but a lot) not wanting it to be as good as people say it is, which is a shame. I find it hard to put into words just how much it moves me or even how I feel about it in general. But the somber collective and communal experience I had with everyone else at the Barrymore last night shows me that I’m not alone in my praise and my admiration for it and I hope more people grow to feel the same way.
"

Thank you for your posting. I saw The Inheritance at the Young Vic. My reactions were very similar to yours. I don't understand a lot of the other comments here, but I do understand the way the play made me (and the audience around me) feel and am happy that there are others who continue to respondsimilarly.

I think Dominic Cavendish's review in The Telegraph is as spot on as any review is likely to be. Here it is:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/theatre/what-to-see/inheritance-young-vic-reviewperhaps-important-american-play/


I saw this at the Young Vic as well. No expectations and only one person I knew saw it. I came to my mostly, but not all, negative opinions all by myself.

 

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The Inheritance - Previews#248
Posted: 11/9/19 at 8:54am

Really intrigued with the post above about the character of Eric. Having only read the play, I was somewhat surprised by how little he develops, particularly as our point of access in this heavily-peopled story. So much of his interaction is surface, or rather without dramatized depth. Eric doesn't have a powerful goal, and his obstacles are not compelling, at least on the page.  When we get to the wooing of Eric by Henry, the writing feels at its absolute flattest. Their relationship is mystifying for me, as if something profound is going on under the surface. I was intrigued by the baldness of their impromptu decision to marry, but Eric's investment in the marriage from then on is difficult to root for.  There's no reason for these men to partner, other than, well, to get us to the end of the play and all that comes with the marriage. Maybe it's more compelling on its feet. On the page if has the feel of a first draft, with placeholder dialog to nail the plot proper, but lacking nuance. I'd love to hear more from the poster above KingHenryIII on Eric. 

"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 11/9/19 at 08:54 AM
Hamilfan2
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The Inheritance - Previews#249
Posted: 11/9/19 at 10:45am

A plot question for anyone who has seen it:

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

In the play at the end of Part 1 they make a big deal at saying that this was the last Christmas Toby would ever experience.  They even repeat this at the beginning of Part 2.  But then in part 2 when Leo and Eric show up to Toby's apartment it is made apparent that it is once again Christmas time, as the security guard was wearing a santa hat and I think at one point even says Merry Christmas or mentions its the holidays.  So I thought oh my god I guess Toby is already dead and maybe they'll discover his body when they go to his apartment.  But they don't and then later we see that Toby is actually alive and well and had lived past that next Christmas.  Am I missing something?

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The Inheritance - Previews#250
Posted: 11/9/19 at 11:23am

clever2 said: "
<snip>

Come to think of it....and please let me know if I’m misremembering this....isn’t Adam the only character who ever directly involvesthe audience?


<snip>
Are there any other moments like that in the play? From Adam or anyone? It seems very odd to have an actor essentially break character for two bits in one scene and another actor break character for one bit much much much later in the play. Should a choice like that be more reoccurring, as in should it be a committed part of the vision rather than just a couple larks?

Again, if there are more and I’m not remembering, please let me know

"

One such moment that I remember comes from Toby on his first appearance in Part 2. I can’t remember the exact line, but he says something along the lines of, “And now back to Toby, whom I know you’ve all been waiting for”. That’s not the even close to the exact line, but I do remember that Toby implicitly acknowledges the audience and that they are watching him.

However, I think that in some way, it makes the most dramatic sense for Adam/Leo to be the only one to acknowledge the audience, as he is

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

revealed at the end of Part 2 to be the author of the fictionalized novel we have just seen. 

I’m a little surprised that we haven’t seen more discussion of the end of Part 2, as it re-frames the whole show in a different light and, I thought, tied up some of its themes about story, history, and community rather interestingly. At the same time, I think the way its written and directed may obscure what actually is happening, as the folks I saw it with did not have the same read that I did. My understanding is

 
Click Here To Toggle Spoiler Content

that the entire play, up to and including the point where Eric and Leo’s deaths are described, is the novel “The Inheritance” that Adam/Leo has been writing. It’s based on Adam/Leo’s life, but it has been fictionalized and mapped on to Howards End. This is why there is so much third person narration and why, as someone said above, it feels at times like we are watching a novel rather than a play. Once Eric & Leo’s deaths are described, the play breaks out into “real” life and Adam/Leo is arriving at Eric’s 40th birthday with a draft of the novel, which we have just seen. (Note that from this moment forward, there is no more third person narration; we are now in the “real world”.) We are told that Toby’s name hasn’t been changed, but “Henry”’s name has been left out of the book, and Adam/Leo has substituted “Henry Wilcox” from Howards End instead. Henry and Eric are in real life still married, so we are not to believe all of what we have been told up to that point in the novel part of the show. Rather, the theme of the show all along has been how stories that are passed down or inherited are what create and sustain a community, and how difficult it is to be the author of your own story when that chain is disrupted (through the closet in Forster’s case and the toll of AIDS in the case of the Boomer generation). Through the novel we have just watched Adam/Leo has tried to merge his contemporary world with Forster’s and continue the chain.

I found this ending super interesting, and dramatically satisfying, but it left me with many questions about the story itself. How much was “real” and how much was fictionalized? Who was the author of the novel in the end, Adam or Leo, or are Adam and Leo a fictionalized splitting of the same person in the “real” world? (Unfortunately I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the dialogue to hear if the author is referred to by name. I suspect he’s Leo, but I find it much more interesting if he’s both Adam and Leo.)

I would love to hear other folks’ thoughts about the ending; I think there’s a lot to dig up there. 


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