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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents "Time and the Conways" at the American Airlines Theatre
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Roundabout Theatre Company Presents "Time and the Conways" at the American Airlines Theatre

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Roundabout Theatre Company
www.roundabouttheatre.org
Todd Haimes, Artistic Director/CEO
Julia C. Levy, Executive Director
Sydney Beers, General Manager
Steve Dow, Chief Administrative Officer

Present:
Elizabeth McGovern, Steven Boyer, Anna Camp
Gabriel Ebert, Charlotte Parry, Matthew James Thomas

in
Time and the Conways
(Time and the Conways Website)

By J. B. Priestly
Directed by Rebecca Taichman

With: Anna Baryshnikov, Brooke Bloom
Alfredo Narcisco, Cara Ricketts

At the
American Airlines Theatre
227 West 47th Street
NY, NY
212.719.1300

Set Design: Neil Patel
Costume Design: Paloma Young
Lighting Design: Christopher Akerlind
Sound Design: Matt Hubbs
Hair & Wig Design: Leah J. Lukas
Dialect Consultant: Deborah Hecht
Fight Director: Thomas Schall
Production Stage Manager: James Latus
Production Management: Aurora Productions
Casting: Jim Carnahan, CSA/Jillian Cimini, CSA
“Time and the Conways” General Manager: Denise Cooper
Director of Marketing: Elizabeth Kandel
Director of Development: Christopher Nave
Adams Assoc. Artistic Director: Scott Ellis
Founding Director: Gene Feist
Press: Polk & Co.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 9, 2017


The J. B. Priestly play, Time and the Conways, which premiered in London in 1937 and on Broadway in 1938, is now enjoying its first Broadway revival, with audiences (including tonight’s) in awe. Rebecca Taichman, Director, transports the audiences in vivid thoughtfulness across time, from 1919 Britain, to 1937 Britain, then back to the Conway family’s living room in 1919. The cast of ten, led by the masterful Elizabeth McGovern as Mrs. Conway, unpeels its weaknesses and wants, desires and demons, in compelling conversations that reek of eventual loss of potential and expectation. The American Airlines Theatre’s cavernous stage felt as close as a salon production, as Ms. Taichman finely tunes each of the siblings’ and their friends’ and fiancés’ crystalline personas. In fact, each character could have been presented within a portrait frame, as each was so unique and sadly predictable.

For Kay Conway’s (Charlotte Parry) birthday, at a joyous 21, the cast is assembled in a game of charades, with the adult Conway children bubbly and ebullient, giggly and gorgeous, as they perform in props and pomp for their convivial company. This family is comfortable and thriving, with Mrs. Conway widowed and aggressively protective for her children’s societal standing. Alan (Gabriel Ebert), a man who visibly folds into himself, introverted and self-conscious, Madge (Brooke Bloom), a schoolmarm type, with grand social concerns, Hazel (Anna Camp), pretty, pleasant, and perky, Carol (Anna Baryshnikov, in a breakout role), ingenue, ingenious, luminous, and Robin (Matthew James Thomas), the sixth and most “substantial” and “promising” sibling, are all projected, in 1919, to actualize their budding or blooming promise. In 1937, nineteen years of life’s cruelties have taken their toll on each sibling, while Mrs. Conway seems insulated in her own protective delusions. When the cast, filled out with Ernest Beevers (who has won the vulnerable Hazel’s hand in marriage), Gerald Thornton (Alfredo Narciso), and Joan Helford (Cara Ricketts), reveals the ravages of fate and forced choices, one can sense a collective audience sigh of sorrow and empathy. The theater is still, the air is thick. Only by reverting the final scene’s action back to the frivolities of the 1919 party and charades, does one, reflexively, wish them the best.

I would love to see this play again, on the small stage, to experience more closely its nuanced, dramatic twists. Ms. Taichman drew out the vividness of the family’s individualized loss of hope and security, and her visual design choices were superb. Neil Patel’s incredible scenic design, that shifts in luminosity as it travels across the decades, is a lasting, lovely image. Paloma Young’s period costumes change with the characters’ financial circumstances, each uniquely. Christopher Akerlind’s lighting and Matt Hubbs’ sound designs work well with the largesse of this theater, as well as the mysticism of the time-in-motion play. The entire Roundabout Theatre Company technical staff worked in tandem to mount a most memorable evening at the theater. Kudos to J.B. Priestley.

















For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net