Death of the Liberal Class: Theater review by Adam Feldman
Do the polemicists of the radical left really want what’s best for the world, or would they rather just be right? In Death of the Liberal Class, Steven Rattazzi plays Nick, a middle-aged writer who has become unexpectedly famous after publishing a fiery anticorporate screed titled Robo Corp: How Man-Made Money-Making Machines are Devouring Our Future. When his dire predictions of economic collapse fail to materialize, he retreats to lick his wounds on a Canadian farm that belongs to his soon-to-be-ex–wife, Daphne (Melissa Murray), an MSNBC talking head. For company there, he has an eye-rolling teenage daughter, Andrea (Jeanette Diloné), whose mysterious new boyfriend, Even (Justin Cólon), is a young cyberterrorist who loves Nick’s work and aspires to make it a system-shattering reality. But at what cost to real people?
This could be the stuff of a fascinating play, but Robert Lyons hasn’t written one. Aside from one early flashback scene, in which Nick has an apoplectic meltdown in a televised interview, Death of the Liberal Class is thin gruel that feels long even at a meager 70 minutes. The characters seem artificial—Even, a crunchy Millennial, is unconvincingly well-versed in Cool Hand Luke and the Ramones—and Jerry Heymann’s wooden staging does no favors to the writing or the cast. Chalk it up to the gap between theory and practice.—Adam Feldman
New Ohio Theatre (Off-Off Broadway). By Robert Lyons. Directed by Jerry Heymann. With Steven Rattazzi. Running time: 1hr 10mins. No intermission.
Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam