The Lincoln Center Theater production "Domesticated" is a highly topical work about a disgraced politician and his shattered family. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following report.
Bruce Norris thrives on provoking us. His Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning "Clybourne Park" dealt with sensitive race issues, and now, his latest play, "Domesticated," focuses on a disgraced scandal-ridden politician and his upended family. Sound familiar? If you've ever been the least bit curious about the private lives of folks like Messrs. Spitzer and Weiner after their public flogging, have I got a play for you.
It starts with a scene ripped right from the headlines. Bill, flanked by his stone-faced wife, is stammering to announce his resignation from public office. His tryst with a prostitute ended tragically, and his distraught wife and two daughters want nothing to do with him. In Act 1, Bill barely says a word while Laurie Metcalf, as wife Judy, delivers a tour de force of spousal indignation. Norris gives her the best lines, and she spits them out with venomous fury. We are easily on her side.
Act II attempts to even the playing field, presenting Bill's version of the affair. And while Jeff Goldblum does a terrific job as the unfaithful hubby, he doesn't stand a chance.
Norris frames each of the play's scenes with a series of mini-lectures about animal mating habits. Presumably, he wants us to understand that animal instinct goes a long way toward explaining that monogamy is not natural for males of the species. But as written, Bill has few redeeming qualities, and so the attempt at justifying his wandering eye falls rather short.
That's a flaw in this otherwise sharply written play. Anna D. Shapiro's in-the-round staging is a marvel of simplicity. And every member of this fine cast scores with the notion that the mating game is a blood sport in which no one wins.
Don't be fooled by the title. "Domesticated" is one very wild domestic drama.