In a strange way Jack Canfora’s play Jericho, directed by Marsha Mason is like watching disembodied talking heads, but as the production moves on you are brought into the emotional conflicts that Jericho, asks. Finally this new medium of streaming really works. Mason’s direction is spot on, as you are brought into Beth’s (a fabulous Eleanor Handley) world. Beth lost her husband Alec (C.K. Allen) in the tragedy of 9/11 and is consumed with survivors guilt. She hallucinates him in the body of her psychiatrist, a Korean woman. She finally progresses to seeing him in person.
We see the world through the perspective of Beth whose guilt steams from the fact Beth told Alec she was leaving him that morning. Finally dating again Ethan (Michael Satow) invites her to share a Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Jericho.
In the meantime Alec’s brother Josh (an always fabulous Jason O’Connell) was in one of the towers during 9/11 and has survivors guilt. Feed up with the hypocrisy of people moving on, Josh is moving to be with “his people” in Israel. His wife Jessica (Carol Todd who begins unlikable and ends up fabulous in the drunk scene in the second act), is distraught, angry and uncomprehending over the fact her husband is no longer who she knew. Thought they are divorcing, his mother (a wonderfully directed Jill Eikenberry) hasn’t a clue. Humor is born out of pain.
At Thanksgiving Dinner truths are revealed in a drunken scene that lets out many secrets.
Turns out Josh can not forgive himself for his actions that day. His reveal to Beth over why his marriage no longer works is heartbreaking.
Mason’s direction, as well as the terrific backgrounds by technical director Adriana Gaviria, make this extremely watchable.
Jericho has so much to say if only the audience can listen for the over two hours it takes for this play to unfold. I found the dialogue so riveting and the unveiling powerful that the time flew by.
Jericho presented by New Normal Rep. until April 4. $25
Opening photo Eleanor Handley and C.K. Allen. Photo © New Normal Rep; all rights reserved.