|Actors: Caroline Lagerfelt and Ari Fliakos|
DIRECTED BY: KNUD ADAMS
NYTW (NEXT DOOR)
NOTES ON MY MOTHER'S DECLINE is an autobiographical play about a mother who is ill
and her declining health is being watched by her son who might be in his late thirties or early forties.
The audience sits on both sides of the stage giving it an intimate feeling. There is nice big bed with white bed cover. The son, named Andy (Ari Fliakos) narrates the play.
Mother (Caroline Langerfelt) walks in a nice pink nightgown and lies down on the bed, her head propped up by pillows.
The son tells us about his mothers routine. "She smokes. She smokes." He repeats often with the
great sense of detachment. He is also miked and his sound adds another layer of emotional distance
from his mother. I guess since the play is autobiographical perhaps the son was never so intimate
with his mother but some how we want him to be, we want him to be more involved with his emotions of grief because we all know even from the title of the play that the mother is going to die soon. He tells us about the caretaker who is very nice but eventually steals money from her.
Mother lives in the same apt in the East Village where she raised her son. The son also lives close by.
Mother complains that he doesn't visit so often. They don't talk directly to each other. Mother is
upbeat and jovial. The son is very serious, serious but not sad, not openly sad, maybe trying not
to be sad but this way the play doesn't have any looming sense of loss. I didn't share the son's grief
because he didn't want to share it. Play stayed dry emotionally. Towards the end the son takes the
wire of. Maybe at this time he wants to share his real voice with some tenderness.
I think the play would work much better if it was a radio play with some sound effects added.
Caroline Lagerfelt was excellent. She had the wit, the humor, the sense of impending tragedy
and love of life. We find out during the course of the play that she loved theater.
The set by Marsha Ginsberg is effective. The lights by Oona Curley not so. Lights are directed more towards the audience which was annoying. They should have been more focussed on the
actors but since there were audience on both side of the stage that was the best they could do.
I wish the son was more grief stricken. I am not being morbid but after-all his mother was dying.
this play could have made me cry but my eyes stayed dry. I felt for the mother but not for the son
and I didn't like him being miked. I love natural voice and it would have worked much better because the place small and intimate.