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Review Roundup: Richard Nelson's INCIDENTAL MOMENTS OF THE DAY

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Read reviews for the third installment of Richard Nelson's Pandemic Trilogy, The Apple Family: Life on Zoom.

Review Roundup: Richard Nelson's INCIDENTAL MOMENTS OF THE DAY

Read reviews for the third installment of Richard Nelson's Pandemic Trilogy, The Apple Family: Life on Zoom.

Apple Family, a dramatic series of plays which first appeared 10 years ago at The Public Theater, returned this summer with the premiere of two plays written especially for Zoom and in response to the global pandemic, What Do We Need to Talk About? and And So We Come Forth. With nearly 100,000 views in over 30 countries, these plays have been critically praised as "almost like watching a new art form being born" and for their "brilliant ensemble of actors."

Now completing this pandemic trilogy, is INCIDENTAL MOMENTS OF THE DAY set in early September, 2020. After six months of self-imposed pandemic isolation, the Apple siblings again gather on Zoom for an evening of dinner, conversation and performance, while the world continues to sputter more and more out of control, amidst anger, loss, death and a coming election.


Ben Brantley, The New York Times: In "Incidental Moments," the strongest and deepest of the trilogy, the Apples have at last moved, fumblingly and hesitatingly, into the outside world. As the family's latest Zoom confab begins, only the youngest of the Apple siblings, Jane (Sally Murphy), a writer struggling with depression and agoraphobia, is in her own apartment.

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: This whole melancholy trilogy has, more than anything, been an exploration of family intimacy and Zoom. You can see it as optimistic in that it often seems to say that love, and I don't mean the mining of prospective dating prospects, can move online, if a family is sufficiently strong. Maybe our eyes and our screen are both just portals. And it captures how a lot of us have looked forward to virtual communion with old friends and long-lost relatives, forming a pandemic silver-lining.

Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: It goes without saying that the cast-Plunkett, Sanders, Murphy, and Kunken are prominent in this installment-are beyond superb, so I won't say it. Let me add that I am especially grateful to the author that he hasn't devised this play to open on Election Night. He did that four years ago, and it didn't work out so well.

Michael Sommers, New York Stage Review: Speaking of beauty, the seemingly spontaneous performances of the ensemble remain lovely in their extremely natural qualities, although the velvet-voiced Robins is glimpsed for scarcely two minutes as melancholy Marian. Among these fine portrayals, Plunkett offers several especially darling moments as her Barbara badly tells a mildly naughty joke about a damsel with a glass eye. Although the production successfully strives to appear totally artless, a more considered design in terms of backgrounds and clothes would enhance the piece. The lighting looks especially harsh on the actors. Several characters express feelings that their horizons and futures have been diminished by the troubles plaguing our current times. Many of us certainly can relate to these fears even as the worthy, though intermittently tedious, Incidental Moments of the Day seems somewhat too incidental for its own good.


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