I’ll keep it short, here is my take on that trilogy of patriarchy, Judaism and capitalism:
Three men, three male actors. No women. From time to time, one of the actors plays a woman, a fiancée or a lover here and there, with the kind of obvious comedy that had already Greek audiences laughing in 500BC. Women, as far as the producers of this play are concerned, play such a minor role in a family dynasty that it is not worth representing.
The set includes a revolving stage. I am wary of revolving stages, they usually flag a production that is going to favor brassiness over reflection and creativity, except if handled by Robert Lepage. A sofa on stage is also a flag, this one usually guaranteeing a production that will not take any risks creatively. The various sides of the revolving stage were not really differentiated, so it did not serve the purpose of offering different sets for different scenes. On the other hand, the revolving did bring to mind effectively the passing of time. There were other good choices: no period costumes and accessories, and a stunning stage, empty but for the revolving gizmo, and very large (there’s plenty of room at the Armory) with a projection of live images on the curved back wall. Pretty spectacular. The content is not scripted into scenes, little dialogue takes place. That can make for a new interesting take on the theatrical form, but did not salvage this propaganda piece from turning into pantomime.
I was waiting with trepidation to see how 2008 would be pictured: an apocalyptic armageddon, right? Terribly disappointing. The cast dances a frenzied twist through the 90s, convincingly. Just as in the 20s, it seemed like there was no end to miraculous speculations. Then the play fizzles into nothing much. Certainly nothing about the mortgage scandal of the 00s. The brothers did not respect shiva anymore, so they lost their company. No moral indictment of the criminals that brought about the crashing of an economy, and much hardship to the common people: loss of jobs, home repossessions. I don’t see how you can tell the story of the Lehman family and their company without alluding to the hardships caused by the greed and irresponsibility of the banking and investment world.