This weekend I bumped into Tony Kushner at the Guthrie. We were both watching "Tiny Kushner," a series of one-acts. He raved about the actors and then continued to laud the local actors in "The Intelligent Homosexual." I said I hadn't seen it yet. His response: "Give it a week."
Kushner's frank advice made me feel that much more pity for the people I ran across as I left the Guthrie at 10pm. Bleary-eyed, they were in their second intermission for the new play, and had still another hour to go. Many of these people paid hundreds of dollars for the opportunity to be among the first to see the play.
The critics this weekend were not as optimistic as Kushner in their reviews. Pioneer Press critic (and MPR commentator) Dominic Papatola described it as "overwheening... pedantic... and needlessly junked up ...with out-of-place manifestos." The Star Tribune's Graydon Royce says "[Kushner's] operatic cacophony at times skates precipitously close to the razor's edge of incoherence."
So while Kushner claimed last week that making major changes even in previews is part of his creative process, it sounds like he didn't give himself enough time to get the play where it needed to be. I'll be giving it at least a week.
Photo credit: 2009 © Michal Daniel