Friday, October 31, 2008

A Life Time Burning

Friday 31 Oct & Wednesday 5 Nov, 2008
By Cusi Cram
Directed by Ethan McSweeny
Featuring Elizabeth Canavan*, Raúl Castillo*, Deirdre O'Connell*, & Kelley Rae O'Donnell*


  1. sylviainstructor@yahoo.comNovember 5, 2008 at 2:08 PM

    The theme of Cusi Cram's A Life Time Burning is universal: all of us are prone to times in our lives where we just wish we could do them over. All of us have committed mistakes which we have later regretted and have done things without considering the consequences. And some of us spend way too much time obsessing about all this. The thing is: what happens when it's too late? Ms. Cram provides a fantasy solution in her funny, fast-paced, sharp dialogued play. One sister, Emma, has written a "memoir" which is biased to her desire and the other sister, Tess, criticizes her action for doing so. Although it is not entirely clear how much of Emma's account is true, it doesn't seem to matter to the audience - for it is the catalyst which attempts to heal the relationship between her and Tess. And its slightly maudlin ending does not overpower the playwright's overall message. Maybe some fine tuning is needed if the playwright wishes to erase any ambiguity, but on the whole, this was an excellent start to a smart play. Congratulations and Bravo to playwright, director, cast and crew!

  2. I enjoyed the writing and character development in this witty, smart, New York-y play, and the cast and direction did it justice. But, the ending just wasn't edgy or interesting enough to live up to the promise of the rest of the play. Plays like this that are more character/dialogue driven than plot driven are a challenge to wrap up, since what's good and juicy about watching them isn't so much what "happens" as what's going on inside the characters. I loved the development of Emma's relationship with her (really hot) tutee, because both characters were so deeply developed, and the things they saw and found in each other were clear...and the way that subplot ended would, I think, be a better model for an ending for the play as a whole. Neither character was redeemed or prettied-up--quite the contrary--but that scene exposed a deeper, rougher layer of truth about what was going on between them and the ways they were f**ked up.

    Anyway, overall I loved this theme and writing, and I will eagerly seek out more work by Cusi Cram.

  3. It's been exhilarating to see so many funny plays about families. This one is smart, fast-paced and gripping as well as funny. The literary agent in particular is a tour de force--both the writing and highly satirical acting. The whole play is a precise depiction of Thank you so much for presenting this at the Public and free to the public. We need more satire about the painful aspects of family, rampant as they are. Ms. Cram explores the machinations of a sibling relationship that is simultaneously an artist/nonartist relationship, and it's not an easy task. Well done!