MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW
Off Broadway

She Says: Later Life, a Show Time has Passed By

She Says: Later Life, a Show Time has Passed By
Barbara Garrick, Laurence Lau.

Barbara Garrick, Laurence Lau. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

A.R. Gurney’s 1993 play Later Life, at the Clurman Theatre, makes upper-middle-class discontent look passé. The lights by David Lander twinkle in anticipation of something magical, as the set by Steven Kemp keeps things on an earthly plane.

At a party in an apartment overlooking Boston Harbor we meet Austin (Laurence Lau), a Boston banker who, now divorced, is being set up by Sally (Jodie Markell in one of several roles) with Ruth (Barbara Garrick), a woman he met as a serviceman one night in Capri 30-odd years ago. It may have been one night, but Sally remembers Austin because he told her of his fear that something terrible was going to happen to him and she wants to know if it has. The short answer is yes, only he doesn’t see it or know it.

Barbara Garrick, Jodie Markell, Liam Craig

Barbara Garrick, Jodie Markell, Liam Craig. Photo by Carol Rosegg

As chemistry and sparks fly, the two keep getting interrupted by an assortment of characters (Liam Craig and Jodie Markell) who enter unannounced as Ruth and Austin are trying to connect. We meet a Route 128 computer nerd, an acerbic lesbian, a Jewish earth mother, a Harvard professor’s widow who is the hostess, and a prematurely retired Brandeis professor who is trying to quit smoking.

Liam Craig, Jodie Markell, Laurence Lau

Liam Craig, Jodie Markell, Laurence Lau. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The problem is Ruth and Austin have a chance to be happy, but she is too entrenched in her self-destructive relationship and he is stuck in who he is, and that is the tragedy.

Lau gives us Austin’s perfectly constructed, old world, white bread politeness. He is a cardboard human devoid of emotional attachment. Lau, however, manages to touch us in the final scene. Garrick as Ruth is perky, and though we should think there is a possibility of these two hooking up, they are just so different. Craig and Markell’s portrayals are more like caricatures than real people. I blame this all on the writing, which never seems to say enough or delve too deep.

Director Joel Silverstein keeps the cliché wit and has the show humming along.

Sometimes, time has passed a play by and that is what seems to have happened here.

Later Life inspiration comes from Henry James’s short novel The Beast in the Jungle, which is being turned into a musical by four-time Tony Award winner John Kander (Cabaret, Chicago), Tony-nominated playwright David Thompson (Steel Pier, Flora The Red Menace), and five-time Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Susan Stroman (The Producers, Contact). I expect more from this version.

Later Life: Clurman Theatre, 410 West 42nd St. until April 14th.

Off Broadway

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

More in Off Broadway

She Wanted Much More But What She Got Was Paris: Saying Good Bye To Rita Gardner

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 25, 2022

Opening Night of Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood and You Are There

Magda KatzSeptember 24, 2022

Off Broadway News: As You Like It!, The Public Theatre, The New Group and Ensemble Studio Theatre,

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 21, 2022

Off-Broadway: Previews And Openings From Now Until October

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 19, 2022

Mama, I Want To Sing! Auditions

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 16, 2022

Theatre News: Harmony, Merrily We Roll Along, Take Me Out, Into The Woods and Little Shop of Horrors

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 15, 2022

Theatre News: The Music Man, Hadestown, Funny Girl, Almost Famous The Musical and Cost of Living

Suzanna BowlingSeptember 14, 2022

Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical The Step and Repeat

Genevieve Rafter KeddySeptember 14, 2022

Meet The Cast of Stranger Sings! The Parody Musical

Genevieve Rafter KeddySeptember 14, 2022