Sex, Drugs, & a Movie-Actor/Theatre-Director? by Kelly Kabialis
Sex, booze, mistakes, and revenge – these are the roots of addiction in The Long Red Road. Each of the main characters is trying to suppress memories or avoid the future, whether it be a teacher who loves having a boyfriend to baby-sit, a younger brother who rapes his older brother’s daughter and takes his wife, a drunk, or a young lost soul. They all deal with addiction and discover how walking the “Long Red Road” is the only way to solve their problems. Opening the doors to the Owen and seeing the unique set, you aren’t really sure what to expect, all you know is that it’s going to be one hell of a night. The five intersecting sets allow the actors to move in and out of each others lives and literal space. If you aren’t in the mood to focus on details, this is not the right play for you.
When the lights fade-up the audience hears female moans and male masochistic demands, then after this awkward three minutes, we hear the same man beg for the women to never leave his side. Though the metaphor for this mans’ pathetic relationship was strong, it is not needed to be shown through these graphic moments. The play turns out to be disturbing enough as it is.
The interesting thing about this production is it can appeal to two types of audiences, pure theater lovers and pure movie fans. The design aspects seemed excessive including the dramatic transition sound effects, the random artistic elements, and a somewhat over done fog effect. The first of four introduced characters is Sam, played by British actor Tom Hardy, who seems born for this role. He is a runaway husband who hasn’t seen his real wife in nine years. He has to drink in order to sleep and sleep in order to drink. Sam’s brother Bob, the second character introduced and superbly performed by Chris McCarty, resents his brother for always taking the attention from everyone throughout his childhood. Bob takes Sam’s wife under his wing, which turns out to be a sneaky ploy to be able to say, “I SCREW YOUR WIFE!” You must recall the beginning of the play and remember that Sandra, Bob’s girlfriend and Sam‘s wife, lost her legs in a car crash nine years ago, and is never in the mood for sex so this is a pointless statement. As if this betrayal isn’t bad enough, when Tasha, Sam’s’ daughter, meets her father for the first time, Bob gets so angry at her for not loving him as much as his alcoholic brother that he rapes her. This was a overused metaphor from the playwright Brett C. Leonard to portray the stealing of Tasha’s innocence. This wouldn’t be a bad choice if Leonard hadn’t chosen to pick nothing but overused metaphors. Some of which included stereotypes of teachers, a Native American Chief who seemed to fit all too well into Pocahontas, and of course a young girl becoming a woman. All in all, the plot gets very twisted and somehow all the characters connect like a odd puzzle that takes months to put together.
It seemed like the Goodman Theatre was off to a great start for the 2010 season with Hughie / Krapp’s Last Tape but, all good things have to come to an end. If you want the real Goodman Theatre attend the shows at The Albert not The Owen.