Second Stage's production of the brand new metaphysical drama "A Parallelogram" officially opened at the Tony Kizer Theatre this week. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
Any play by Bruce Norris is going to be smart, riddled with pungent dialogue, and never less than intriguing and you can certainly say that about “Parallelogram”. Yet it’s far from his best. The playwright has gotten himself tangled up in a dimension that only Rod Serling could navigate.
We meet Bee and her boyfriend Jay who seem rather typical after a protracted relationship. She’s a little bored. He’s distracted. But something very strange is going on. There’s an older woman in their bedroom who only Bee can see…and together they’ve entered the twilight zone.
It's explained that Bee seems to be caught up in a cosmic parallelogram in which time can intersect allowing her to communicate with her future self. Or is that Bee is simply delusional? It’s one of several unanswered questions in this frustrating work which also asks if you knew what happens in the future would you try to change anything? And would it make any difference?
Norris’ premise is an interesting one but what should have been an existential head trip ends up something of a cop out and dramatically it’s rather inert. All of the characters, including a young Latino lawn cutter, become tiresome halfway through.
It is well acted though and Michael Grief’s direction is strong enough to keep us guessing far longer than the play deserves. Celia Keenan Bolger, always fun to watch, does her best in a difficult role that's unnecessarily shrill; Stephen Kunken, playing yet another flawed mensch, never disappoints. And it's a thrill to see Anita Gillette back on stage. The multi-talented veteran is a marvel in her own right.
Norris’ Pulitzer prize-winning "Clybourne Park" is a favorite of mine. It too offers much food for thought but in the case of A Parallelogram, it's disappointingly half-baked.