Playwrights Horizon is “a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary playwrights…and to the production of their new work.” The theater’s 44 year track record is impressive. Six Pulitzer Prize winners can be counted among its progeny, including Norris’ Clybourne Park. To add to the anticipation, Wendi had chosen with a performance with a talkback featuring PH’s artistic director Tim Sanford, director Pam MacKinnon and Norris himself.
The Qualms is a one scene, 94 minute play that tells the story of a get-together of four swinging couples. Correction -- three swinging couples and one couple exploring the idea. The ‘70s concept of throwing keys into a bowl and drawing the keys of your partner for the evening was given a nod with a bowl where cell phones were laid to rest. It was up to the club “members,” however, to figure out who would head off with whom.
|Pam MacKinnon, Bruce Norris and Tim Sanford|
Although Norris ultimately comes down against "swinging," Norris views the practice as both a hopeful and utopian approach to the world. Doesn't it ignore human nature, though, he asked? Isn't it complicated enough to try and manage one relationship? (At this juncture Norris shared a hilarious story of his fourth grade "girlfriend" who scarred him for life when she broke up with him by throwing his ID bracelet at him during crossing guard duty. He apparently wasn't capable of living up to her expectations.)
The Qualms is a thoroughly engaging show with or without the treat of a post-show talkback. If you're in the New York area between now and July 12, get to Playwrights Horizon to check it out. And I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a regional run in the not-too-distant future.