“A Trip to New York City” by Nancy Pitkin

Frequent contributor Nancy Pitkin shared the following review of the “The Heir Apparent”, a play she saw on a recent trip to New York City:

An overnight trip to New York City (or why I shouldn’t read the New York Times; I always find a play I want to see)

White Plains, NY is an easy 3 hour 5 minute drive from Lowell and has much less expensive hotel rooms and parking than Manhattan. Though our room was not ready, we parked our car at the hotel (free parking included) and walked the 2 blocks to the Metro North Station at 11:00 am. After arriving in Grand Central at noon, we made our way to the #4 subway and less than 10 minutes later were at Union Square. Getting there early let us enjoy the sights on a beautiful afternoon: the Friend’s School and the Episcopalian School were both celebrating with street carnivals, and there was a support the legalization of hemp (marijuana) gathering at Union Square.

We walked over to 13th street at 3:00PM to the Classic Stage Company, a small venue with intimate seating (200 seats) similar to the Lyric Stage in Boston. It is not cavernous and one can really experience the actors.

The Heir Apparent” was adapted by David Ives from a Jean Francois Regnard 17th century play. It has great dialog – Mr. Ives has a remarkable way of making the dialog fun – many puns, rhymes, and dry wit – it is styled after the original, and the dialog both moves the story and tickles the ear. Some of the rhymes are school yard humor and some are fine-tuned double entendres. A bit for all.

The play has a larger cast, 4 men and 3 women, than many we have seen in the last few years. We enjoyed the setup of an older wealthy dying (?) man arranging his own wedding with the underhand mother of the beautiful young woman who is in love with the dying (?) man’s nephew and the scheming, but honest, servants. While not the norm today, arranged weddings were 300 years ago when the play was first written. After all what is more important than inheriting money? (And if Piketty ‘s book is accurate in its predictions, it may be come true again during the lives of children born into this decade.) Lots of short lawyer jokes (is the lawyer really 2 ft. 9 in. tall ?) , an incredible New Yorker nephew, complete with coon skin hat, and 3neices who raise pigs, all after the uncle’s money and all have great parts in this show. The end of the play reminds me of how in the 19th century productions of Shakespeare’s plays were changed to have “happy” endings (We all need hope in tragic times). The play was fun and has a positive ending, a testament to hope. Sit close enough to the stage and you too, can cash in. Viva la France!