Sunday, December 11, 2016

With New Play and Book, Richard Greenberg is in the Spotlight

Richard Greenberg has had a busy fall. In October he published a book of essays, "Rules for Others to Live By," December saw the debut of his latest play, "The Babylon Line," Variety's review called the play "one of those modest little gems that contains sparks of white light if you look hard enough."

Lincoln Center Theatre's website describes the play thusly:
Levittown, 1967. It’s the first night of adult-ed Creative Writing class in a classroom at the local high school. The teacher, Aaron Port, lives in Greenwich Village and reverse commutes once a week on the Long Island Rail Road’s Babylon line to Wantagh. His students are a mixed bag: Frieda Cohen, Anna Cantor and Midge Braverman, housewives all, embrace each other on arrival, and update their running checklists on each other’s kids, husbands and lawns. Their opening gambit is to tell Aaron in no uncertain terms that they are only there because French Cooking and Flower Arranging are full. The two men in the class, Jack Hassenpflug and Marc Adams keep mostly to themselves. 
One final student, Joan Dellamond, rushes in late – but she actually does intend to be there. She is a housewife, but not like the others. Living on Long Island with no kids, she cannot be in the same conversation with those women. Nor does she seem to want to be. And yet, she does seek connection. Maybe this class will bring her, and Aaron, something that neither quite expects.
Greenberg did a fair amount of publicity around the play, For example, the Forward newspaper ran a lengthy Q&A on December 2, titled, "Tony-Winning Playwright Richard Greenberg Talks Baseball, Movies, Ferrante and Obscurity." One excerpt from the interview, conducted by writer Adam Langer:

AL: Are you going to be in rehearsal on election night?
RG: I don’t know. I think it might be a dress rehearsal. I remember being in a dress rehearsal the day after Obama got elected and all anyone was talking about was the cues. The show does go on, doesn’t it?
AL: It’s kind of a lovely world to live in.
RG: I guess. It has its exigencies. I remember doing a play at Lincoln Center. I was doing two plays during 9/11 and one of them was at Lincoln Center. Someone determined that Lincoln Center was number five on the terrorist hit list. I don’t know who came up with that list. But I remember feeling very, very secure there in that theater.