Haviland Morris, Brenda Wehle, Maryann Plunkett and Jay O. Sanders Photo by Joan Marcus
Like the Apple and Gabriel plays, Richard Nelson brings back the residents of Rhinebeck, New York, a liberal community, where it seems life happens around intimate family meals. Now we get The Michaels, about Rose Michael (Brenda Wehle), a lesbian modern dance choreographer who is dying.
The same cast is back with Maryann Plunkett, playing Rose’s new partner, Kate, who has become her caregiver and Jay O. Sanders, as David, Rose’s ex-husband. He is now married to former dancer Sally (Rita Wolf). Rose’s daughter, Lucy (Charlotte Bydwell) and niece, May (Matilda Sakamoto), re-create Rose’s work, as former dancer Irenie (Haviland Morris) comes to visit.
For two hours, no intermission, they discuss life, art and death. Nothing really happens or gets resolved. This time however there is dancing by Ms. Bydwell and Ms. Sakamoto, which breaks the monotony. The choreography is based on the works of Dan Wagoner.
It is hard to comment on the acting or direction (also Nelson), as it is so completely natural and honest. These plays are like sitting in a kitchen of artists and intellectuals having a conversation, which I do all the time. To me this is everyday life.
The Michaels Conversations During Difficult Times: The Public Theater, 425 Layfette, until Dec. 1st.