A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes

Theater, Drama
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes: Theater review by Helen Shaw

It’s a canny bit of programming to bring the surreal Kate Benson comedy A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes uptown. Last year it did nicely at the downtown New Georges festival, but now it’s arrived, further polished, in front of postholiday audiences, ones primed to see family functions as ritualistic and eerie.

Short, darkly funny and distinctly unsweet, A Beautiful Day… follows the doings of the Wembly family on Thanksgiving. Sisters jockey for position as turkeys are turned, yams are plated and the black sheep (Kristine Haruna Lee) undergoes the traditional humiliation. Benson lacquers this familiar banality with formal devices: Sports commentators (hilarious Ben Williams and Hubert Point-Du Jour) offer a sly play-by-play from their booth, and the gorgeously multiethnic cast moves like Robert Wilson–ian puppet people, gliding in half-crouches across a painted football offensive diagram. Lee Sunday Evans coaches an all-star bench (Mia Katigbak! Brooke Ishibashi! Gerry Bamman!) in a production that’s beautifully honed and scrupulously prepared. You can’t imagine another production of this play: When it comes to theatrical integration, this little construction moves the goalposts.—Theater review by Helen Shaw

A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes. New York City Center Stage II (see Off Broadway). By Kate Benson. Directed by Lee Sunday Evans. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins. No intermission.

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Event website: http://nycitycenter.org
Event phone: 212-581-1212

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