Friday, March 11, 2011

That Championship Season Has Begun

The Broadway revival of That Championship Season, "Jason Miller's portrait of morally bankrupt men remembering their glory days as a high-school basketball team," (as Ben Brantley of the New York Times describes it) opened on March 6th.  The production is directed by Gregory Mosher, who also directed last season's hit revival of A View From the Bridge, and he brings a sensibility to this play similar to the one he used on that other play by a Mr. Miller -- one that tries to preserve the "drama's perverse comfort factor ... [its] gleam [or] polish."  But many reviewers thought that, as strong as the physical production was, the play did come across as awfully dated, and as though it could have been written by-the-numbers.  Three of the play's actors have been cited for overacting, with Kiefer Sutherland (making his Broadway debut with this production) being called "the most credible of the lot, quietly conveying a shrunken man poisoned by passivity and resentment."  But in the end, the play comes across as mostly flat and dated, with "little natural flow or friction among the performances."  Could that be why we don't see productions of this play too often?

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