Silver plays a journalist driven to agoraphobia by his inner struggles and the hypocrisy of the world beyond his balcony. What bothers him most are the souls who say they “love his work” but have lives and values that he despises.
There are several humorous sections in which Silver chides the cliches and “political correctness” of contemporary life.
While this territory has been mined before, playwright Rosenblatt slashes away with particular skill and focus, lambasting contemporary social and political rhetoric. Words like “synergy,””dysfunctional” and “actualize” fall victim to the playwright’s onslaught.
Rosenblatt’s targets are not so much the yuppie lifestyles of the ’80s and ‘ 90s but the political opinions and social attitudes that have emerged from our media society.
In the eyes of Rosenblatt’s character, current views on everything from toxic waste to Japan-bashing seem to be churned up by a great Rube Goldberg machine that is one part mindless media hype and the other part stratified social prejudice.
Although all of this makes for an interesting essay and political discussion, it doesn’t quite work as theater.
The problem is that Silver’s character is not very interesting beyond his occasionally witty musings on politics and rhetoric. His anger at the journalistic establishment–from tycoon publisher to the instant analysts–borders on whining, and the more personal details of his broken marriage and unhappy childhood are only brief grace notes in his tirade.
The only real drama in this piece is the writer’s struggle to move from throwaway journalism to more “meaningful” work, perhaps an important book.
While he wrestles with the truth and hypocrisy in society, one wonders whether he isn’t avoiding the simple chore of sitting down to write. In the end, the play itself feels like a writer who is avoiding the deeper questions in his work by merely commenting on it.
Silver’s performance is crisp, warm and intelligent. He is delightful in his witty tirades and never loses his focus even as the play wanders.
It is a special treat to have the gifted Silver on a local stage–in this case, the renovated Hollywood Playhouse–even though the script seems to inhibit rather than challenge his range.