note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Beverly Creasey
THIS IS OUR YOUTH is Kenneth Lonergan’s extremely funny portrait of post adolescent angst over parents, relationships and the meaning of life. The good news is that the Gurnet Theatre production nails Lonergan’s hilarious “youth culture” of the early ‘80s. The bad news is that THIS IS OUR YOUTH only runs through this weekend.
Yes, it was and still is sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll, ladies and gentlemen. The sex is always scary. (Lonergan’s play takes place just before the AIDS epidemic exploded.) The drugs have morphed from pot to the hard stuff and the rock of the ‘60s is relegated to “retro” in Lonergan’s searing valentine to foolish youth.
Jonathan Popp is a whirlwind as the wheeler dealer who doles out advice like a demonic life coach and drugs like there was no tomorrow. Lonergan’s characters lack any awareness of consequences even after a plot turn makes them realize that life is tenuous at best. Popp’s frenetic pusher has one of my favorite responses to the news that heroin can be fatal. For a brief moment he resolves to give up drugs. He’s even moved to make an altruistic gesture and “donate his stash to charity.”
Steven Rossignol gives a dazzling performance as the dealer’s totally clueless friend. His awkward advances on a cute coed (Chelsea Cipolla in a kickin’ performance as the haughty fashion student) are simply sensational. Their relationship is just one of the reasons to love this play. Director Brian Fahey sets just the right tone for these twenty-nothings adrift in time between irresponsibility and independence. Who wouldn’t love a play which lionizes the Mothers of Invention!