Life Around the Dinner Table



The Promenade Playhouse is something of an anomaly.  Set against the background of the Third Street Promenade, with all its activity, inSanta Monica, and accessed by way of a  long hall far away from the frantic madness of the street, is not the usual place you would expect find a theatre.

The current production, The Dining Room by A.R. Gurney was well received when it made its debut inNew York Cityin 1981 and did much put on Gurney on the map.

All the action takes place around a dining room table and weaves back and forth over a period of years involving different households as it tells the story of upper class families as they react to a changing culture as it does away with the tradition and mores of the early years.

The realization comes when it becomes apparent that things will never be as they were as time and tide forces changes in habits and styles of living.

What’s interesting is the constant changing of roles among the actors which would drive a casting director up the wall but it somehow seems to work as the different scenes take effect and ultimately congeal, allowing for a theatrical experience of exceptional range.

As directed by Natalia Lazarus, however, one might wish for a wider range of expression among the cast and more attention paid to the various nuances of characterization to more effectively bring out the reactions of all those involved as they are confronted by what is around them.

Somehow, even though you are intrigued by the way Mr. Gurney has juxtaposed the various scenes as they are played out, you find yourself wishing for a fuller exposition of the possibilities as they present themselves in this production.

In the play bill, notice is paid to Toni Torrisi for “his contribution in guiding the actors in their craft, character development and intentions”.  Maybe a little more intense collaboration  between Mr. Torrisi and Ms. Lazarus might shed a bit more light into Mr. Gurney’s intent.

Credit must be given to Vincent Lappas for a rich looking set design.

Judging by the overall look and feel of the theatre, there should be an interesting future for the Promenade Players Theatre Company.  I wish them well.

Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM…..310.656.6070…


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