Ira Lewis’s ‘Chinese Coffee’

Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by admin No Comments

In Ira Lewis’s Chinese Coffee, the revived two-hander at the Roy Arias II, it’s the freezing wee hours when Jake (Austin Pendleton) reluctantly responds to the banging on the door of his small apartment. Half-heartedly, he welcomes novelist Harry (Sean Walsh). Harry initially wants the money Jake owes him since the preceding May 28, but it comes out he’s really there to learn what Jake thinks of his latest novel. At first, Jake, who’s had the manuscript for some time, claims he hasn’t read it, but after being relentlessly badgered, admits he has gone through it and strongly disapproves of what he found. He objects to its autobiographical slant, an unfair and unauthorized appropriation of the Jake-Harry friendship. Moreover, he announces that had things gone better for him, now that he’s 50, he would have been a great novelist. Then he insists that Harry, at 46, is washed up. This throws an understandable damper on what they’ve previously called their best-friends status.