The Waverly Gallery

Yes, it is true that I saw this play specifically to see Michael Cera on Broadway and rectify my absence from missing him in a concert in Ireland over three years ago. Was this play about an aging grandmother plagued by Alzheimer’s as fun as seeing him with The Unicorns or whoever the band he was playing with had been? I’ll never know the answer to that question but I do imagine only one of the options would have left me feeling like shit as I left the theater. Or is theatre? I’ll just use them interchangeably with no set standard to my pattern. Anyway, I saw the play like twelve days or so ago? Do I remember what happened and have a thorough review of it? Of course I don’t, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was dozing off in the first half and only woke myself up with a 23$ drink that was worth half that at best. Except people don’t read these critiques for my utter breakdown of a playwright’s prose, but rather they wish to know the human experience, my human experience. The experience of wondering why a man will make a joke that he must think is comical about his large size that leads it to be uncomfortable for the person sitting next to him. As I thought then and I still think now: “Buddy, you came with your wife. Her seat is next to the wall. Switch seats with her and make it so she suffers alone, and not force her to suffer alongside that of a stranger.” Maybe in a way, his girth overwhelming me and cramming me inside my own seat, felt like a protective cocoon of nurturing which lulled me into a slumber. I’d rather think that than something negative for I wish to make this new column for the Times, one of positivity and glee, not just mean jabs at other patrons.

In this new update of WordPress, there isn’t a word count so I have no real clue of how much I am rambling because I don’t want to go through all the trouble of copy and pasting this in Microsoft Word in order to ascertain those details. I just felt I said enough about the atmosphere and my seating arrangement during the show and I needed to move onto my hard-hitting analysis. The play itself? Well, it would probably be easier to review it had I not seen it almost two weeks ago. What I distinctly remember is that I understand how you have to speak to an older adult, typically using a slower cadence and louder delivery, in order to ensure they can properly hear you. That was delivered in spades in this drama, but I think the over annunciation from dealing with the grandpa kind of seeped into other aspects of the play. The dialogue itself never seemed entirely natural and always had an awkward, stilted quality to it. Which again, made sense in the moments with the grandmother, but less so when they were interacting in scenes without her. I also do not know what strange accent Michael Cera himself was going for, but it led to just me thinking “Why is he doing this?” than being impressed with his vocal performance. I also find it a bit strange when you have a cast that’s mainly known for their movies and then there’s just the one random theatre actor thrown in. Like, you just couldn’t find one more actor that wanted the role? You’ll give him a part just about as meaty as everyone else but you’ll mainly wonder where he’s from compared to the established acts you already know. The grandmother herself though was fantabulous. I don’t remember her name because of me writing that after the fact, but she was renowned for something she did and she was definitely the best overall performer in this play. Except she kind of has to be. Well, that’s not true at all. However, the play would be truly awful if she wasn’t the best character since she’s the centerpiece of which the play is constructed around. Though there’s plenty of works that are centered around characters and the actor portraying them is awful. I don’t mean to belabor that point, I just wanted to give her kudos for her showing the ultimate cognitive decline and her descent further into dementia. The most affecting scene would probably involve her and Lucas Hedges as she keeps waking him up in the middle of the night to speak of her closing gallery and seems unable to understand the concept of time, space, and well other things that are relational to time and space. Then there’s the pivotal climax, or maybe it’s just the conclusion where well, you see the peak of her illness which ultimately results in her death. Again, what a fun ending to a fun show about watching a woman decline before your eyes.

I could write more but I both don’t remember everything and I think I wrote enough already since I said I would have four of these done by the weekend and it’s a Tuesday and I barely finished this one. Am I supposed to give this a number ranking or something? I already said I wouldn’t so I won’t regress that quickly from my original intentions. If you made it this far then congratulations. My advice? See the show, why not? It was good, but don’t make the mistake I did and go alone. Because when you exit the theater you will not feel happy and it’s tougher to be unhappy when you’re by yourself because then you just sit in your own thoughts about the inevitably of the decline of all of us and you get sadder. Nobody wins that way. Thus, make a friend, take them to this show, and have them renounce your friendship because they’ll wonder why you’re taking them to something so depressing even if they do get to see Michal Cera with a very scraggly beard. So it goes.

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