Max Posner’s The Treasurer, is deftly directed by the incredible David Cromer. Our lead actor named “The Son” (Peter Friedman) keeps explaining his actions to the audience trying to clear his conscious, telling “My son called this morning and asked if he could write a play about — my mom,” which confuses him. “The Son’s” mother, Ida Armstrong’s husband, “The Son’s” stepfather has not provided for his wife and she is broke, lonely, and starting to get dementia. When Ida (Deanna Dunagan (August: Osage Country)), starts spending all of her children’s money, “The Son” is forced to become her treasurer. The two were never that close and the more, he has to deal with her, the more guilty he becomes. Though he has siblings, they are far away and have long since distanced themselves from their difficult mother. After all, their now 80-some-year-old mother left when “The Son” was a teenager. The family had to grow up without a mother, where their father cried all the time. This play deals with being forced to take care of someone, whom you have never really bonded with.
Though many people in the audience laughed, it was hard for me to do so. I understand “The Son’s” point of view. Thankfully I do not have the guilt that comes attached, to never having bonded with ones parent. I have several friends right now, who are having to deal with their dementia or Alzheimers afflicted parent, who love them and are being dragged into a life that was not of their own choosing. I sometimes wonder if they will ever regain their lives back.
Posner’s piece is powerful and his dialogue or lack of it speaks volumes. He writes in rhythmic cadence. They could not have picked a better director for this piece than David Cromer who understands the complexity of relationships and does not trivialize them, but fleshes them out.
The cast is first rate with Friedman drawing us to his side. I wanted to cry at his guilt that overwhelms him into thinking he was a bad human being. Ms. Dunagan, as always as playing the self absorbed women who subtly destroys lives. Mirinda Anderson and Pun Bandhu, take on a variety of roles, making each unique and fleshed out.
The Treasurer: Playwrights Horizons, 416 West 42nd St. until Oct. 22nd.