ACTAfter two plays with abstract sets and supertitles for Uzbek and Russian dialogue, ACT served up a more traditional play about, well, fathers and sons. Set in a nice apartment in NYC but on kind of a dull set, a father (Leon) tries to bridge his estrangement from his son (Marcus), whose own toddler son (Stephen) has disappeared. Meanwhile the trumpet-playing ghost of the elder man’s father (Benard) haunts him.

The storytelling, as you might imagine, is intentionally disjointed and moves around through time and reality as Leon/Benard and Marcus/Leon variously confront one another about their failings as fathers and husbands, and Marcus has several flashbacks to interactions with his wife Yvette.

I see that critical response has been mixed, but we enjoyed it. The material is obviously kind of downer, but by the end I felt like it was the most hopeful downer I’d seen in a while. And we loved the convincing performance of the actor playing Leon. Leon appeared to be using all his concentration to avoid flying to pieces, and his shoulders had crept up to ear-level in a permanently defensive posture.