The Luckiest People
Orlando Shakespeare Theater
directed by Kristin Clippard
Luck is a relative thing, and in this family it’s a little tough to detect. Oscar’s (J. D. Sutton’s) wife has passed, and now he’s stuck alone and cranky in an old folks’ home or whatever euphemism they use these days. Son Richard (Steven Lane) offers to move him into his own place, but that makes Richard’s husband David (Alexander Mrazek) upset as it interfere with their plans to adopt. Richard’s sister Laura (Suzanne O’Donnell) doesn’t really help, she’ drinking a bit hard and may have her own scandal developing. It’s a complex negotiation, and like most things in life, none of the option makes everyone happy.
While Mr. Lane is the focus on this merry-go-round of family angst, the humor comes primarily from the side lines. Sutton is not only an experienced old guy; he can deliver the gag lines with the acid of a cranky pensioner. Mr. Lane is always negotiating and trying to get 6 pounds of commitment into a 5-pound box. Suzanne O’Donnell feels airy and only partially committed to the problem; she has a job in Shanghai and can easily hide out in that sprawling city. It’s Mr. Mrazek who look most hurt; he really wants that kid whereas Mr. Lane sees the child as a sort of optional pet.
Where this story is weak lies in its open-end conclusion. The author has declared this to the part one of that dreaded literati animal “A Trilogy, so leaving things open ended gives him downstream maneuverability. Chapter Two was ready at the last PlayFest, so we know author is still onboard. What we have here is a funny, sometimes touching modern day kitchen sink drama executed on a clever moving set. Its fun and engaging, but you will have to come back next year to see where all this is headed.