In 95 minutes, Gina Gionfriddo’s Can’t You Forgive Her? asks an in important question; “Can you have meaning in life, at least a happy one, if you have no means? Bringing Gionfriddo’s quick slides of wit and quiet strides into social analysis, the playwright has grown to formulate a signature style. As she casts you with wry jokes, she also tosses sincere, spiritual turmoils for her characters and thus you.
Graham (Darren Pettie) is at his recently deceased mother’s beach house, and wondering whether he should abate her wishes in reading ALL her failed manuscripts. As the play continues, Graham’s mother becomes a silent shadow/ symbol for the many people who leave this world feeling unaccomplished and unshared. Pettie plays Graham with a cool rebelliousness that, initially, charms viewers, but eventually cracks to show his devastation at having a mom that was so good, particularly to his dad, but had such a sad life. The fear and loneliness of having sad lives is what drives every character. There is Tonya( Ella Dershowitz), Graham’s girlfriend/ single mom, who sincerely believes the one self-help book she read is equivalent to The Bible, and the only thing that has and will shake her from her incredibly bad life choices. She humorously annoys in obsession with this book, but also shows the dangers of self-help books taken as commandments and the lack of compassion they can breed. Yet, there is also David, of which Frank Wood delivers a hilariously mundane personality. He is frustratedly over-analytical but desperate to connect to emotions, particularly that of Amber Tamblyn’s Miranda.
Tamblyn is definitely the star of the show. She turns a Graham’s living room into a world of stories, and get the best zings of Gionfriddo’s writing. Miranda is a magnetic character, who is rightfully angry at the “poor” cards she has been dealt, but is wrongfully reacting towards them. Like every character, she has a reasons to self-pity, but not throw quite the party over it. Tamblyn uses her body, mind, and soul to give Miranda the star-quality such a character deserves, and Peter Dubois makes sure she has the chance to shine. DuBois does excellent to create a space/ world where the central dilemma is casually universal; how can we be our best selves/ souls when we are at our material worst? Nothing like lack of funds or family to shake your heart to its core, but Can You Forgive Her? is a comedy about realizing that lowliness is only the starting point to your highness. To See Can You Forgive Her? At Vineyard Theater Click Here. The thoughtful comedy will run until June 11.