admin On luglio - 13 - 2014

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

If vengeance is a dish best served cold, absolution and forgiveness seems to be a lengthy journey that must be travelled by all the injured parties. Thus, is the way that playwright Robert Boswell presides over the characters of ‘The Long Shrift.’

The play, directed by the multi-hyphenate James Franco, is the story about teenage Richard Singer, accused and thrown in jail for rape, tearing his parents apart. After nine years, when Richard is out of prison and his accuser is back in his life, the truth will be unveiled on what truly happened that decisive night.

The 100 minute-one-act takes time to sink in, but once you start this harrowing introspective journey, the topics tackled by the drama will get under your skin. The undertones of the male and female perceptions, in matters of sex and relationships, are thoroughly explored and questioned by the characters’ opposing gender perspectives.

Scott Haze continues his collaboration with James Franco, proving his versatility: after starring as a beastly and mentally-defected lonesome man in the movie ‘Child of God,’ he tread the boards majestically for this stage performance. His co-star Ahna O’Reily – who some will remember in ‘The Help’ – is terrifically intense in her composed manner, holding in all the plethora of female sensations, that range from sense of justice, to that of guilt, along with the will to solve what was broken.

The ‘L.A. Confidential’ star, Brian Lally, and actress Ally Sheedy hit it off as husband and wife, enriching the overview on the teen-incident: even a consensual couple at times may encounter moments of resistance, that will be smothered by compromise. The socio-psychological dark mood of the drama has the comic relief of the ditzy character played by Allie Gallerani – who is making a name fore herself in TV (The Good Wife) and film (Emoticon;) ).

James Franco magnificently directs a top-notch cast with a touch of cinematic whim, that intertwines with the theatrical code of make-believe. The characters use the same scenography that morphs in the audience’s imagination, through the gimmickries of lights and music.

‘The Long Shrift’ is a contemplative voyage that will make you drift away from Manichaen positions, to ponder on the complexity of where lies the thin line that divides right from wrong.

The play will be running at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (224 Waverly Place) from July 13th to August 23rd 2014, [Previews begin on July 7th].


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