On Sunday, I got a chance to see a Michael Frayn play at 78th Street Theatre Lab that I'd never seen before: Benefactors as presented by Folding Chair Classical Theatre.
The play is a dissection of class competition and generosity. The generosity in Benefactors is deceptively corrosive, and kindnesses, even those with good intentions, are performed with a roll of the eye, at least, or a twist of the knife. It's rare to see a perfectly constructed and well-acted play with no trickery to prop it up. The play never feels playful or clever: it feels smart.
It's playing for one more weekend and I heartily recommend it. The four actors (James Arden, Lisa Blankenship, Francine Margolis; and my good friend Ian Gould, who was featured prominently in When is a Clock) are fantastic, and Marcus Geduld's spare direction hits all the right notes of a deceptively complex piece.
Thursday is already sold out, so get your tickets for the last three performances here.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.