An off-Broadway play by Mike Bartlett in three acts, staged by Roundabout Theatre Company.
A small, perfectly placed cast performing the roles of Kenneth (Richard Armitage), Henry (Alex Hurt), Sandra (Amy Ryan), Jamie (Ben Rosenfield) and Rose (Zoe Kazan).
A life. A play about reaching maturity without ever wanting to grow-up. About starting a family, because that’s what everyone does, without ever wanting to part with your juvenile selfishness.
A clash. Of care-free youthfulness against duty-laden responsible mid life. Of generations. Of egocentric, self-absorbed characters.
It begins in 1967.
Sandra, Henry’s smart and witty girlfriend meets his brother Kenneth, a party-going, pot-smoking, life-loving young lad; it is June 25th and the entire world is watching the historic, first ever live satellite programme in which the Beatles performed ”All you need is love”.
Sandra and Kenneth sing along; they dance; they fall in love.
Married. Two kids. Financially secure. High profile jobs. No time to waste. Not least for two needy, self-conscious, egotistic teenagers.
Parents retired. Affluent. Kids are now adults; Jamie resigned, Rose angry, both still lost deep in the generations chasm, unable to accept the world they inherited.
Rose: I want you to buy me a house.
Sandra : A house?
Kenneth: laughs some more.
Kenneth: You’ve got a house.
Rose: I’m renting.
Kenneth: What’s the matter love
Sandra: Something’s wrong, isn’t it? I can tell.
Rose: I’m thirty seven
Rose: So… my birthday. I had a little thing in a bar in Clapham, hired out this little bar, and all my friends came, and two days before I didn’t tell you this, but two days before my birthday I broke up with Andy.
Kenneth: You didn’t… oh… you’re not with.
Kenneth: You didn’t say.
Rose: You never asked.
Sandra: You don’t like us asking.
Rose: Yeah so I’d already booked this bar, and I went ahead with it anyway even though I was quite… lonely… you know.
Sandra: Oh baby.
Rose: And everyone turned up and some of them with kids and stuff and we had a bit of a dance you know, kept the smiles going but then suddenly I found I was sat on a chair at the side of the room, all on my own, at my own party, and I was crying.
Sandra: Were you drinking gin?
Sandra: Gin can do that.
Rose: I wasn’t drinking at all Mum but I found I was crying, and it was because I realised as I was sat there, I realised I’d completely fucked it up.
Sandra: It’s not too late, you’re not even forty.
Rose: At my age you had a house, half paid off, two kids, holidays, money.
Kenneth: It was different then.
Rose: Look at you… ”If you can remember the sixties you weren’t really there”. What a smug fucking little thing to say. You didn’t change the world, you bought it. Privatised it. What did you stand for? Peace? Love? Nothing except being able to do whatever the fuck you wanted.
Kenneth: It’s your life Rosie.
It has to be.
He drinks from the wine.
We love you.
But you can’t blame us.
You want us to give up our retirement, our independence, our holidays, our security as we get older, you want to take all of that away from us and just give you a house.
Rose: It’s not fair.
Kenneth: Life isn’t.
And on and on and on it goes – such is the multifarious process that’s life.
Laura Pels Theatre at the Howard and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre
November 25th, 2016 (ran through December 18, 2016)