The Great God Pan
By Amy Herzog
Directed by Nathan Jones
Starring Thomas Rivera, Bridget Lindsey Morris, and BeeJay Aubertin Clinton
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL
It’s a hot mess of misery and confusion on this small stage. Jamie (Rivera) may not be happy, but he’s focused on his marriage until a long lost childhood friend Frank Clinton) appears with the astonishing news Jamie may have been abused. The culprit was Frank’s father, and Frank is filing charges against his dear old dad. Can Jamie add anything to the case? Meanwhile, back at the ranch Jaimie’s wife Paige (Morris) reports pregnancy as her biological clock ticks off the nanoseconds to 30. Should she stay with Janie or should she go? Or should poor little Fetus Child take a fall for this shaky marriage? As Jamie polls people as to what happened, the concern dwindles. Paige counsels anorexic and unstable Joelle (Allie Novell) while Jamie’s mom (Traci McGough) acts strangely disinterested about the charges. Jamie’s dad (Larry Stallings) is even farther away, he’s discovered Yoga and might even learn some Sanskrit. It takes a mighty sexy yoga instructor to get a man to learn Sanskrit. .
While nothing resolves in a satisfying manner, Mr. Rivera generates sincere anger and we are all left with the thought that maybe all of this was only on Frank’s head. Ms. McGough was the creepiest; she might have been covering up, she might have been denying, or she might have blanked the bad memories and wanted to just get back to her book club. While I though Ms. Novell was the strongest on-stage presence, she also had the weakest role. She existed simply to show how nice Paige was. The remaining character Polly (Tiffany Ortiz) babysat way back when, here she is elderly and forgetful which may be Herzog’s ultimate theme – time may heal wounds; but it does so by forgetting them or at least averaging them out over the rest of your life. The story ends abruptly, and it feels like an act or scene is missing to resolve this pile of woe. Maybe there was abuse, maybe there wasn’t. Maybe there was and time has mercifully buried it. Maybe an interfamily legal battle with 27 year old hearsay evidence is need to feed the lawyers or blackmail the unseen Frank. I can’t tell from the script.
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