What would it be like if our family’s life story was subjected to the unmerciful scrutiny and the no-holds-barred comments of a Broadway critic? How many of us could withstand a probing analysis of the acts and scenes of our family’s life and still emerge with egos intact?
Our very real lives are not plays in spite of what Shakespeare wrote. All the world may be a stage and we may all be players, but nobody is going to close us down with a few deft thrusts of a vitriolic pen. But still, it would be interesting:
” ‘The McAverages’ is an off-off-Broadway production that has been running for what seems to be forever. It took ten years to cast and has pushed its budget beyond the two million dollar mark. Despite frequent ho-hum performances by the male lead, the show has managed to stay on the boards and off the rocks.
One of the weaknesses of this multi-character piece is an apparent lack of plot direction. It opens as a love story and that theme prevails throughout, but there are distinctly farcical scenes and, as the younger characters move through adolescence, the theme begins to approach cheap melodrama.
Yet, it holds one’s interest. The very aimlessness of the script and the variety of pace piques the audience’s interest. How is this thing going to come out?
The sets are by Sears Roebuck and estate sales. Casting was by amazingly good fortune and by various always welcome storks. All of this adds to the realism generated by the cast members and their freewheeling pets.
The attractive leading lady is well cast and turns in a stellar performance. However, in the later scenes as the younger players mature and shed braces and pigtails, the heroine’s attractiveness could have faded a little, but this is an observation, not a complaint.
Most of the play’s incongruities are generated by the male lead. Is he a dashing urbane man of the world posing as an accident-prone bumpkin, or is it vice versa?
Is he basically cheerful but subject to periods of depression or is he a pathological grouch who has occasional seizures of jollity? And why does the script have him shouting so much, especiallly when he’s demanding quiet?
While the play’s tempo often swings from humdrum to hectic, the general mood seems to be comfortable affection between characters. You may not always enjoy or even understand the interplay, but you will sense that the characters do.
‘The McAverages’ is an interesting play to visit and I wouldn’t mind living there.”