Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Friendship is Miles Away
I hate that I'm writing this review the week after "Christmas is Miles Away," by English playwright Chloe Moss, has closed here in New York. Let's just say I was lucky to see it. Produced and Directed by my friend Geordie Broadwater, the play chronicles the breakdown of a long-standing friendship between two Manchester boys as they grow into men.
Unsurprisingly, the two are very different, and their differences only blanch and tighten with age. Christie's father dies, he falls in with a girl named Julie, which proves to be his first major love affair. Luke goes off to be a soldier while Christie stays at home to paint at the local art college. The New York Times review really says it all . . . Ms. Moss' dialogue is the shining star of this play, totally natural, and also wonderfully exotic with the nooks and crannies of the Manchester gab. While all three actors are talented, Roger Lirtsman, who plays Luke, is absolutely stunning. His total and complete physical commitment to the character outshines the other two actors, who still seem a bit young and inexperienced in comparison. Lirtsman's tics (Luke has an uncomfortable large and frequent smile) indicate there's more to him than meets the eye. His discomfort (again, that incredible smile) during an intervention Julie organizes is so palpable, I cried. I literally cried.
I had never heard of Chloe Moss, but you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be keeping my eye out to see more from her, and to purchase a collection of her plays. (Is there one? There should be). All I know, is that after I left the theater, I was still crying, thinking of my childhood friends (and even some current ones) and wondering if I'd done them wrong. It's so easy to let friendships slip through one's fingers as you grow and change. You find yourself seeking out that person when you were thirteen . . . but of course they've changed, and you have too.
What defines a friendship? Does it end when you no longer have anything in common? What about friendships that never had anything in common? I'm the first to admit that I'm too judgmental. If a friend mentions they voted for Bush or McCain, I strike them off my list. I say to myself, "We have nothing in common." Is that really true? Should I value my friends for the way they see the world differently than I do?
Who have I lost through my own immaturity, my quickness to judge, my mindless self-indulgence?
Can we, do we want to reconcile?