Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New Review: Good Boys and True

This actually came out in the New York Press at the top of the week. Hope you enjoy. This one, for some reason, was particularly tough to write.

Here's the tease:

"Sometimes critics can know too much about a play’s development: Good Boys and True, currently at Second Stage, is a case in point. Last summer I saw a workshop of the play at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, where I teach critical writing. The O’Neill is one of our great play-development venues because it offers a safe environment for artists—safe from critics, that is. In exchange, critics are allowed to play an entirely informal role in the goings-on, mostly limited to drinking at the bar with artists after the show and offering advice when solicited. Otherwise, you keep quiet and assume the writer will fix the play’s problems before it moves on..."

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Art said...

Hi Leonard,

This is interesting in light of the recent event we had in Boston where critics were asked not to attend the Huntington's Breaking Ground Festival.

But also in light of a general, overall trend to make works shorter.

Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. Subplots are becoming a thing of the past, maybe?

I am not sure you are allowed to talk about it, but it would appear that somebody must have given him the advice to cut, right?

Leonard Jacobs said...


Well, whatever advice he was given, it was dumb and probably driven by what would seem to be commercial, as opposed to what would seem dramaturgically sound.

The whole thing is tragic, quite frankly. He gutted his play like a fish, and entirely for the wrong reason(s). As I said in the review, I never had a problem with the length, I had a problem with the focus.

Art said...

Just as an add-on, I went and looked up some reviews from the Steppenwolf production.

Two of the reviews both went out of their way to mention how they thought the father angle was just too much added in to the play. (I don't know if it was the lengthier version you saw originally.)

Perhaps this reception resulted in the cuts.

What I find refreshing about your comments is that it is nice to see somebody being encouraged to KEEP something in a play.

But then, again, I'm a playwright! :)