Dana Moran Williams’ set, manifestation of Ralph’s MOMA art installation, “Crumpled Plane,” is terrific. Around the representative art and crashed plane that inspired it, we meet three sets of brother and sister siblings played by Harry Hamlin and Stefanie Powers. Each vignette is divided by film of fliers that runs a bit too long in order to allow costume change.
Ralph and Maggie run in well heeled circles. She’s the curator of the museum exhibition that has sponsored her brother’s piece while personally disparaging it. “This is not artwork, Ralph, it’s salvage.” They snipe. He’s anxious and whiny, she’s more concerned with possibly losing an earring – totally unlikable. (Very Lee Grant in the wig.)
Margo and Harry are on the way to their father’s wedding when the plane she piloted runs out of gas in a snowy, New England wood. She neglected to fix the aviator beam in the tail and to file a flight plan, the first aid kit is empty, her phone gets no bars. “This doesn’t happen to Jewish intellectuals!” Ouch. Both accents are dreadful. He can’t move his leg. They only have warm weather clothes. It’s getting dark. Both sister and brother are self-pitying (about their lives, not just this).
Ronnie and Mia are hiking the above woods five years later when they discover the plane and indications of at least one death. There’s a crash in their joint past also caused by ineptitude. Neither have any particular character but for plot device.
Aria da capo, Maggie and Ralph raise a flag of truce and face the critics.
There’s a story in here somewhere but it’s obscure and undeveloped. Direction is stagnant.
Kate Bergh’s Costumes fit each character to a T. Uncredited film is fun.
Most of us think of Stefanie Powers as an appealing film and television actress, though she’s apparently done theater outside New York. Harry Hamlin was evidently classically trained, but is also recalled from the two mediums. Both, should you be curious, look well. They do not, however listen to one another, practically the most important dictum for sharing a stage. Moments of credibility are few and far between, awareness of audience too prevalent.
Add to this the weakness of the play and…
Photos by Matt Urban
One November Yankee
Written and Directed by Joshua Ravetch
Through December 29, 2019