FOUR LAST THINGS
May 15, 2014
Four Last Things by Lisa Tierney-Keogh is what more theatre in New York needs to be: surprising, strong, and moving. The current production at American Globe Theatre, presented by Royal Family Productions, is a stellar show.
Presented on a very simple square set that represents the Irish farm in which the play is set, everything about this production, from the design to the staging to the acting, is simple and clear. Ideas are distilled down to their most fundamental. The set is a rich green swatch of earth, with a dirt path running upstage through the center. Upstage left is the stump of a huge tree, upstage right is a simple rock wall barrier, downstage left is a piano, and downstage right is an easy chair and standing lamp. These four corners, combined with the central grass and path, take us everywhere we need to be in the course of the play – inside the farmhouse (both upstairs and down), out in the barn, the milking shed, the meadows and the fields beyond.
Likewise the acting is very straightforward and simple. There are no great histrionics. The actors’ choices are clear and powerful. Although all three performers have equal stage time, the story follows Jane (Elizabeth A. Davis). Ms. Davis gives a moving performance as a young woman struggling with the all-too common issue of feeling lost in her life. Her work is equaled by her fellow actors, Justin Hagan and Victor Verhaeghe.
The writing itself is deceptively understated. Every character directly addresses the audience. There are no scenes played between them. The story unfolds as narrative. At first, things move slowly, partly due to the poetic nature of the language (they ARE Irish, after all). Gradually, however, the story engages and ensnares the audience while the lack of scenes heightens the tension of the story. Ultimately, the ending is triumphant and devastating.
Kudos to director Chris Henry for recognizing the strengths of Ms. Tierney-Keogh’s script and matching it with her staging. And kudos to Royal Family Productions for an outstanding work of drama. If you want to see good theatre in New York right now, get down to Times Square, skip past the Broadway shows, and check out Four Last Things.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Kelly Johnston