Things We Want
My gorgeous and apparently theater-mad girlfriend took me to see Things We Want on Monday night and, going in with no expectations—and not even realizing just how star-studded a production this was—I must say that we both enjoyed the show quite a bit.
The acting is first-rate, especially Peter Dinklage, Paul Dano and, most especially, Josh Hamilton, playing three brothers, all presumably in their twenties, living together in the apartment they grew up in, their parents... well I won't tell you what happened to their parents. The art direction (set design/propping) is terrific: this is one of those time-machine homes in which nothing's changed since these guys were kids. Except now it's a lot messier. And instead of toys there's bottles of Jack Daniels scattered about.
Anyway, the plotting here is propelled by the return of a forlorn Dano to the family home, dropping out of culinary school after an unseen Zelda broke his heart. When he arrives, Dinklage is passed-out-drunk on the couch, Hamilton is heading off to his job as some sort of assistant to a self-help guru. All of the above changes completely over the course of the play, spurred on by the introduction of the kind of lonely, up-for-anything, sexy neighbor no one ever really has, in this case played by a very good Zoe Kazan.
Jonathan Marc Sherman's script is clever and often laugh-out-loud funny and, like I said, the actors are all excellent (though I'm a little worried that Dano, now seeing him for the third time in something, may be too one-note... we'll see what he does in the upcoming There Will Be Blood). The problem with the play (ably directed, by the way, by Ethan Hawke): no emotional core. Very quickly into things both Debbie and I realized that we really didn't care what happened to any of these people, even as we had fun watching them get there.
Things We Want is playing at Theatre Row (42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues) in the Acorn Theatre, through December 23.
Weird coincidence postscript: my mom found an old roll of film in her house a couple of weeks ago and had it developed. Last Friday she showed me the pictures, which included several shots of me when I was probably 10 years old or so, goofing around in the snow with someone I haven't really thought about in decades, a kid named Barrack Evans... the same Barrack Evans who is the managing producer of this show!