Theater and Concert Reviews.
"The Thin Place"
by ROBERT MASSIMI 6 months ago in ENTERTAINMENT Spooky Thin.Robert Massimi.
"The Thin Place" is a show that deals with Medians talking to the dead. The Median is a go- between, if you will. Hilda (Emily Cass McDonnell) is a person as a child was taught "The Gift" by her grandmother who was a psychic. Much to the chagrin of her mother who thought Median behavior, or any psychic behavior was demonic and should not be practiced. Plays like "The Thin Place" are intriguing to an audience because done right, it can stay with you for a very long time.
After Hilda's death, she meets Linda (Randy Danson), a Median who is as funny as she is forthcoming. Hilda has become very intrigued with Linda's profession and sees her regularly. Linda at times is friendly toward Hilda; hostile, a foe and combative with her during the performance. Linda wards off the most obvious question that Hilda wants to know: is she for real? Linda like many psychics tries to avoid being called a charlatan, a fraud; she just wants to practice her craft in peace and go about her business.
Lucas Hnath who has written some really good plays :"The Christians" (Obie Award for Play writing) and "A Doll's House, Part 2" (2017 Tony Award nomination for Best Play); has thrown up two stinkers back to back. "Hillary and Clinton" and now "The Thin Place". Like "Hillary and Clinton", "The Thin Game" is just that, thin. Hnath takes us nowhere in this play. Under industrial lighting for seventy minutes (Mark Barton), the lights drop completely, (with the exception of an infrared light). Barton tries to create an eerie effect, however, the writing does not let the audience enjoy this, nor the sound effects (Christian Frederickson).
Hnath's work over the years has brought him much notoriety both on and off Broadway. His works at New York Theater Workshop and Soho Rep brought as many accolades as "Doll's House" at the John Golden Theater. The risk of a play like this is that if it doesn't resonate with the audience, the audience starts to squirm and look around like they were doing last evening. In "The Christians" as well as "A Doll's House", Hnath was spot on in his message; the dark sides came out clear. In "The Thin Place", Hnath's plot, his message was all over the place. He set's up the play in the beginning pretty well but then delves into a woman in Denmark who is filthy rich but lives modestly.
Hnath also never establishes his two other characters in the play. Sylvia (Kelly McAndrew) and Jerry (Triney Sandoval) have no real role in this play. Sylvia is a friend of Linda's, she gives Linda money at times and we never fully know why. Jerry is a cousin of Linda's, he gets her a Visa and we don't know how he did it, where he works or what his background is. The ninety intermission less minutes go around in circles and lead to nowhere important.
The crux of "The Thin Place" is Hilda wanting to know her grandmother from the other side; if the play stayed on solely that it could have been really good. Instead, Hnath brings Hilda's mother into the play and he does so loosely, very loosely. Like Jerry and Sylvia, we never get to know hardly anything about the mother whats-so-ever. At the end of the play the audience has little idea why Hilda is reaching out for her mother since their relationship was lukewarm at best.
Under Les Waters Direction, "The Thin Place" get's thin real fast and leaves the audience very bored.
Lucas Hnath, Hillary and Clinton, The Christians, Obie Awards, A Doll's House Part Two, Tony Award Nomination, John Golden Theater,Mark Barton, Broadway, off Broadway, SOHO Rep, New York Theater Workshop.