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FAMILY WEEK OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: May 5, 2010
Synopsis: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart) collaborates with Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs) on a new version of this bitterly funny play. A year after the death of her son, Claire checks into a recovery center in the desert, searching for a way to cope. When her mother, daughter and sister arrive to participate in "family week," long-dormant traumas collide with recent tragedies in surprising and deeply moving ways. Acclaimed actors Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Ruined), Kathleen Chalfant (MCC's Wit), Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), and Sami Gayle (Gypsy) have come together for this all new MCC Theater production.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"“I want to go home. It’s no fun here.” This cri de coeur erupting from an antsy teenager is likely to fall on receptive ears at the Lucille Lortel Theater, where the Beth Henley play “Family Week” opened on Tuesday night. Lighthearted diversions are definitely not on the menu at the treatment center where this wan, ineffectual comedy-drama is set."
"Beth Henley's "Family Week" is only 75 minutes long, but it's loaded with mysteries. For starters, why did renowned film director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs") choose this play for his stage debut? Perhaps he felt the 2000 piece had gotten short shrift when it premiered, and decided he could reveal the treasure buried within."
"Is "Family Week" named for its perceived running time? On paper, it must have looked like a great idea: Combine the talents of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley and Oscar-winning helmer Jonathan Demme for a dysfunctional family drama. In execution, it produces an embarrassingly amateurish muddle with four actors working much harder than they should have to. Rosemarie DeWitt, who starred in Demme's justly praised "Rachel Getting Married," takes the lead alongside stage eminence Kathleen Chalfant, but even with the two desperately trying to give their characters a little depth, sketchy writing and baffling direction torpedo the 75-minute play."
"In Beth Henley's Family Week, now getting a problematic production for MCC Theatre at the Lucille Lortel Theater, Claire (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a young-to-middle-aged woman suffering from a few problems: clinical depression as well as uncontrolled rage, eating disorders, PTSD, hypervigilance, and/or insomnia."
"It's admirable that Jonathan Demme would want to attempt to give new life to "Family Week," a play by his longtime friend and occasional collaborator Beth Henley that met with a tepid critical and commercial reaction upon its debut more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, the veteran filmmaker, making his stage directorial debut, has done neither himself nor the work any favors. This MCC Theater production of the play -- newly revised by the author -- is likely to meet the same fate as the original."
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