The first play we saw isn't nominated for any awards, but it caught our attention because it was titled Kentucky. The story finds one sister having escaped country life and her abusive father by making a new life for herself in New York. When she hears that her sister is planning to get married back home, she attempts to swoop in and save the day by trying to convince her it is a huge mistake. While the story was predictable, we enjoyed the usual aspects (a cat played by a human) and the familiarity of Kentucky living (lots of Big Blue Nation shout-outs). The play didn't necessarily reflect the Kentucky I know and love, but I'm glad we took a chance on it. Definitely gave us some solid laughs if nothing else!
Next, we went to see The Father starring Frank Langella - nominated for both Best Play and Best Actor. The play follows the steady decline of Langella's character as his mind is slowly stolen by dementia. We knew we were in for a dramatic 90 minutes, but there seemed to be a number of production flaws that left us scratching our head a bit at the end. Don't get me wrong, Langella was fantastic! The story was just a bit difficult to follow at points. You weren't easily able to determine when a flashback was occurring and when the scene was set in the present time. Definitely disappointed that aspect wasn't made more clear for the audience.
We continued with the tough and heavy topics when we saw Blackbird a week later. Una (Michelle Williams) and Ray (Jeff Daniels) have a very convoluted past with one another. And by convoluted I mean that 15 years prior to the scene viewers watch unfold, 40-something-year-old Ray had "consensual" sexual relations with 11-year-old Una. A confrontation of sorts takes place in a messy office conference room...and in the end you are left with more questions than you started with regarding their situation. It is wonderfully performed even though the topic is difficult to stomach at more than one point in the production. Nominations include Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Actress - all quite worthy nods. And two very friendly folks at the stage door!
Saving the best for last, we saw The Humans last week. What a truly wonderful picture of the all-encompassing love present within a family! This play is simply lovely. It has you laughing one moment and on the verge of tears the next. The story is simple - it's Thanksgiving and the family has all gathered to spend the day together. I found myself resonating so closely with many of the ways the family showed love through teasing and comedy. It was just a really fun play with a bit of a serious overtone to keep it balanced. And it happens to be nominated for 6 Tony Awards including Best Play. I would recommend that anyone go see it!
Which play sounds the most interesting to you?
Don't forget to check back on Sunday for my full Tony predictions!