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The Little Flower of East Orange | America Magazine

For the most part it's a kitchen sink Irish-American family drama as related to us by Danny Michael Friedman , a young man in and out of rehab whom we learn in the play's opening scene is presently serving a prison sentence. Yet intermittently through much of the first act, we also enter the mind of Danny's hospitalized, hallucination-prone mother Therese Marie Melanie Jones.

When the action focuses on the hospital staff and law enforcement officials who hover around Theres Marie's bed, the play assumes the tone of a gritty realistic New York urban narrative. Thompson-esque outburst of content-free emotion, and later when she's visiting their mother in the hospital, she incongruously accompanies her own conversation on the violin. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 02, Schmacko rated it liked it.

Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgus does things I deepy admire. He has no fear of breaking the fourth wall and of making theater edgy, shocking, and episodic. He tends to be less successful at creating unified plot. East Orange is less of a dark comedy — less like his past works — and more of a memory play and a family drama.

This is owing to Guirgus losing a parent as he was writing this. Both the son and mother try to reconcile the combatting parts of her history. At the top of the play, the son has run away to Arizona, so he can do drugs and alcohol in a rehab center. The mother — in the care of her equally neurotic daughter — flees home and ends up in a hospital where she may or may not have amnesia. In her stay, she battles horrible back pain and hallucinations about her past.

Another son of a mother in the hospital is also given a lot of scenes, as is a Hispanic and somewhat flamboyant male nurse. Also added for theatrical flair are drugged-out moments where the mom meets Jimmy Stewart, Bobby Kennedy, and a Pope.


Guigus may be doing this for theatrical interest, but it also means East Orange feels messy, all over the place. Still, Guirgus is less able to draw everything together plot-wise or metaphorically. Actors have some stellar moments — particularly the son, the male nurse, and especially the mother. View 1 comment.

Chicago Theater Review: THE LITTLE FLOWER OF EAST ORANGE (Eclipse Theatre Company)

Jun 22, Rusty Thelin rated it really liked it. A beautiful, if slightly incoherent, story of a family struggling to discover the meaning of grace. The tale unfolds slowly, and needs to be embodied by stellar actors to fully appreciate, which fortunately it was in the Public Theater and LAByrinth co-production featuring Ellen Burstyn and Michael Shannon.

Somewhat auto-biographical, it is a testament to the power of familial love, even in the face of the worst familial adversity. Sep 03, Anne rated it it was ok. Read an interesting play lately? This might be the one for you. I was into it when my own mom was sick and I can relate deeply to Danny and her sister's plight. Marie Therese is quite a character. I just felt though that this was too contrived, the plot and ending too labored.

Oh well. Plays can be hit or miss. In this case, a sloppy miss. Feb 03, Lorma Doone rated it liked it Shelves: plays. This play is hard to rate because I feel like it will affect you differently depending on whether you have experienced the death of a close family member, or have had to care for a parent at the end of their life. As a person who has done both in the latter case it was a grandparent , I was deeply moved by this play. Broadway In Chicago. Opening Night Calendar.


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Average Rating based on 7 reviews. Kerry Reid. Dan Jakes. Alex Huntsberger. Lawrence Bommer.

A Little Less Than Kind, but Very Much Kin: Ambivalence, Pain and Family Ties

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