New in 2017 Direct from an acclaimed run in London, a near-future drama about the aftermath of a catastrophe at a nuclear power station, exploring the responsibilities we have towards future generations.
From the producers: In a remote cottage on the lonely British coast, a couple of retired nuclear engineers are living a very quiet life. Outside, the world is in utter chaos following a devastating series of events. When an old friend turns up at their door, they’re shocked to discover the real reason for her visit.
British playwright Lucy Kirkwood's previous plays include "Chimerica" (winner of the Olivier Award for Best Play, the Evening Standard Award, the Critics' Circle Best New Play Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), "small hours," "NSFW" and "it felt empty when the heart went at first but it is alright now." "The Children" premiered at the Royal Court, London in 2016.
"The Children" stars the original Royal Court Theatre cast: BAFTA Award winner Francesca Annis (BBC's "Cranford"), Olivier Award nominee Ron Cook ("Juno and the Paycock" at The Donmar), and Olivier Award winner Deborah Findlay (RSC's "Stanley"). James Macdonald ("Top Girls") directs.
What's Manhattan Theatre Club? One of three not-for-profit organizations that produce a season on Broadway each year, MTC also has two smaller stages at City Center, where they produce mostly modern plays (and sometimes musicals) in a fairly conventional style. More here.
The play is defiantly without direction in its first third...the feeling is that of a scattered drama hamstrung by its writer's habits. Then, at last, "The Children" suddenly clicks into place. MacDonald tightens the atmosphere, tracing the shift in mood from an ordinary afternoon to a seismic evening with grace. The playwright has a gift for realism, with actors to match it, but tests the limits of its effectiveness as she gets exceedingly blunt with theme. Yet her singular voice finally, emphatically shines through.
"The Children" squanders its provocative premise with dull execution. There are powerful moments in the second half...But for all the moments that resonate there are others that feel forced. Macdonald's staging does little to alleviate the work's tonal problems. The three performers deliver impeccable work, handling the play's ungainly mixture of foreboding drama and cheeky comedy as well as possible. But the actors' fine efforts are not enough to fully breathe life into this willfully slow-paced, sluggish work.