Comedy/Drama. By Lisa Kron
Cast: 2m., 4w. "Fans of that beleaguered literary form, the memoir, can breathe a little more easily this morning. Lisa Kron's sparkling autobiographical play Well has arrived on Broadway…Well turns out to be about the mystery of human personalities, even and especially those of the people you think you know intimately…[It] opens doors of insight and emotion that no other play in New York is unlocking right now…[Kron] speaks of what happens when grown children, who feel they have gained perspective on their past, return to the family homestead: 'You realize that your parents live in an alternative universe where your therapy has no power'…Lisa Kron may understand, painfully and regretfully that we can never really know someone else, but the loving vigor with which she tries to do so here turns the natural selfishness of the memoir into a glowing act of generosity." (New York Times) "Truly a beautiful play in many ways, Well paints a mother-and-daughter picture of rich, unusual artistry…Lisa, depicted as an anxious performance artist who narrates matters, explains that this show explores issues of heath and wellness. Noting that Ann is plagued by undefined maladies, Lisa remarks, 'My mother is a fantastically energetic person trapped in an utterly exhausted body.' Despite the infirmities she attributes to 'allergies,' Ann somehow was vital enough to organize her neighborhood, some years back, into forging a racially integrated community. Later on, the college-age Lisa entered a special clinic where she was able to overcome her own allergy troubles. Both of these sagas and much, much more—plus the yin-yang of parent-child ties—are brought to spontaneous life through a wonderfully anything-goes concept in text and staging…But as much as Lisa desperately strives to keep things on track, the production gradually escapes her control and madly gallops away on its own. Scenes are disrupted with increasing frequency as Ann questions Lisa's accuracy. Narrative becomes unglued. Unbidden characters pop up. The other actors, who portray a range of people, become so absorbed in chatting with the convivial Ann that they forget what they're doing…Yet all of the crashing scenery and shifting perspectives yield surprising insights. Sure, the play regards wellness, but it more significantly addresses the necessity of understanding dissimilar people and their situations. Matters like race, creed and health are best considered from the other person's viewpoint. Kron's essential message about the importance of weaving the incongruous parts into the fabric of life provides a compassionate antidote to our judgmental times. Wise and funny and utterly winning." (The Star-Ledger) "Kron must be the wickedest creature alive: She uses her avant-garde tactics to subvert the standard expectations of a play and then uses her playwriting skills to subvert the conventional avant-garde expectations, allying herself with classically disruptive modernists like Pirandello and Thornton Wilder…It's so rare on Broadway…to find a play in which playing is of the essence. Kron and her colleagues have fun, and the fun is infectious." (The Village Voice) Unit set. Approximate running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.