Lost Lake OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • DAILY NEWS

  • NY POST

  • VARIETY

  • HR

Opening Night:
November 11, 2014
Closing:
December 21, 2014

Theater: MTC - Stage 1 / 131 West 55th Street, New York, NY, 10019

Synopsis: 

The lakeside rental Veronica has managed to afford is a far cry from the idyllic getaway she and her children so desperately need. And the disheveled property owner, Hogan, has problems of his own—problems that Veronica is inevitably and irrevocably—pulled into. A portrait of two strangers bound together by circumstance, Lost Lake is about the struggle for connection in an imperfect world.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Lost Lake

    A Cabin in the Woods, but Hardly a Getaway

    Charles Isherwood

    November 11, 2014: A man and a woman, both facing crises, keep slightly uncomfortable company in David Auburn’s small-scale and sleepy new play, Lost Lake, which opened on Tuesday night at City Center in a Manhattan Theater Club production. Generally, when a drama features just two characters of opposite sexes who meet in a cabin in the wilderness, there are only a couple of alternatives: Something very sweet will happen, meaning a love affair, or something very bad will happen, meaning a burst of violence. To his credit, Mr. Auburn, the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof, avoids both of those predictable outcomes, although embers of affection do eventually glow, and there is a mention of a gun. Unfortunately, Mr. Auburn doesn’t generate much heat of any other kind in this muted two-hander, which is directed with grace by Daniel Sullivan (who also directed Proof), and benefits from assured performances from the film actor John Hawkes and Tracie Thoms (Stick Fly). Mr. Hawkes plays Hogan, who in the opening scene is showing off the amenities of the cabin by a lake he’s seeking to rent for a summer week to Ms. Thoms’s Veronica. The problem is, aside from the lake there aren’t any amenities. More like liabilities, which Hogan promises will be fixed by the time Veronica and her two children arrive: the wonky shutter hanging off the window; the swimming dock that’s too dangerous to use; the lack of sufficient beds.

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  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF Lost Lake

    Slice-of-life drama makes a worthy point about loneliness and connection, but your mind may wander

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    November 11, 2014: Down-and-outers find a connection and a kindred spirit in the small-scale drama Lost Lake. Written by David Auburn and directed by Daniel Sullivan — the duo behind the award-winning Proof — the play stars John Hawkes (Winter's Bone) and Tracie Thoms (Rent). In the poster, the actors sit side by side. Over their heads, it reads: “She’s trying to get away. He’s trying to get by.” And audiences will be trying to stay alert. Yes, this contemporary slice of life is intimate and well-acted. But it’s so sincere and extremely low-key that it’s sometimes hard to stay focused. Veronica (Thoms, assured) is a mom on the edge. She’s got two young kids and a nursing job in New York City. Hogan (Hawkes, at his charismatic best) is the caretaker of the lakeside cabin Veronica rents for a week. The cottage is as ramshackle as Hogan, who’s got big plans to spruce it up.

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  • NEW YORK POST REVIEW OF Lost Lake

    Despite brilliant casting, ‘Lost Lake’ lacks urgency

    Elisabeth Vincentelli

    November 11, 2014: Put two hard-up characters in one play, add tension, and chances are they’ll overcome their differences to share a valuable lesson of some kind. It’s the law of dramatic catharsis. Lost Lake, by Proof playwright David Auburn, spares us the teaching-moment rigmarole. But despite well-acted, sympathetic characters, it’s also less than the sum of their problems. John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) couldn’t be better cast as Hogan, the grizzled co-owner of a lakeside house he’s renting to Veronica (Tracie Thoms, Rent) for a week one summer. She accuses Hogan of “skulking around the property like some weird freak,” and few people would look more natural doing that than the hollow-cheeked, lived-in Hawkes. His Hogan looks beaten up by both circumstances and his own doing, the kind of guy who nurses a cup of coffee for hours alone in a diner. He doesn’t even walk — he shuffles, hunched over.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Lost Lake

    'Lost Lake’ Starring John Hawkes

    Marilyn Stasio

    November 11, 2014: There’s something sad and lonely about a summer cottage in winter, a forlorn quality that permeates helmer Daniel Sullivan’s sensitive production of David Auburn’s Lost Lake. Like the dilapidated cabin designed by J. Michael Griggs, the odd couple in this two-hander have the bedraggled air of tired, worn-out souls. A considerable amount of compassion has gone into parallel character studies of the owner of the cabin and a potential renter, roles played with uncanny empathy by John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) and Tracie Thoms (Cold Case). But there are only rumors of action — and it all seems to be happening outdoors. The sublime arts of acting and directing are on excellent display in Manhattan Theater Club’s presentation of a play developed at the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and subsequently seen as part of the Sullivan Project at the University of Illinois. But such a lot of work for such a minor work, even if it does happen to be a new play by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (Proof).

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF Lost Lake

    Admirable performances, unsatisfying play

    David Rooney

    November 11, 2014: Over the past ten years or so, starting with his work on HBO’s lamentably short-lived Deadwood and continuing with memorable roles in indies such as Winter’s Bone, Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Sessions, John Hawkes has carved a significant reputation as a protean screen actor, as capable of conveying glinting menace as gentle humanity. It’s rewarding to observe that his lean physicality and haunted everyman expressiveness are no less compelling in his New York stage debut. Add in a flinty co-starring performance from Tracie Thoms and a dependable director like Daniel Sullivan, and you have the makings of a strong two-hander. What’s missing in Lost Lake is dramatic substance. Written by David Auburn, who won a 2001 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for Proof, this slender one-act play is a melancholy portrait of two strangers reaching for a tentative connection across the divide of their damaged lives. Auburn is too intelligent a playwright to go for expected banalities like an unlikely romance or an eruption of violence. But he hasn’t really come up with an engrossing alternative to flesh out his twin character studies into a play that feels complete. Perhaps it’s a side effect of Hawkes’ presence, but Lost Lake in many ways suggests it might have acquired more atmosphere and psychological weight as a small-scale movie.

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