Stage Review

Indian Blood (2006 - 2006)

WASPS' NEST Eddie (Socarides) hopes grandma (Payton-Wright) can get a handle on what's bugging him in the accomplished Indian Blood
WASPS' NEST Eddie (Socarides) hopes grandma (Payton-Wright) can get a handle on what's bugging him in the accomplished Indian Blood
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Opening Date: Aug 09, 2006; Lead Performance: Charles Socarides; Writer: A.R. Gurney; Director: Mark Lamos

Indian Blood is a memory play, a period piece, a coming-of-age comedy, a family drama: Combining all that into a remotely coherent piece would be a victory for any playwright. That it's also touching but not treacly, self-aware but not smart-alecky, and weighty while clocking in under two hours is something few dramatists could manage: Richard Greenberg, Horton Foote, and, in this case, 75-year-old A.R. Gurney. As he did in 1999's Ancestral Voices, Gurney returns to his native Buffalo and shakes down the family tree for inspiration. His narrator/stand-in is Eddie (Charles Socarides), a full-of-potential, afforded-every-opportunity 16-year-old who blames his disruptive behavior — drawing literary porn in Latin class, for example — on his ''Indian blood.'' And looking to his elders — mainly, his paternal grandparents — for forgiveness, validation, and direction proves less rewarding than our young hero expects. ''Are you in love with someone?'' queries his grandmother (Pamela Payton-Wright). ''Does she have an attractive nose?'' Turns out, underneath their buttoned-up exteriors, Gurney's prototypical WASPs are as dysfunctional as any other clan — drifting, fighting, fearful of their future. ''We're being bypassed,'' says grandpa (a masterful John McMartin), ostensibly of his once-booming, now-declining hometown. ''We're being bypassed. We're through.'' Let's hope not — we want to hear more from Gurney's family. (Tickets: TicketCentral.com or 212-279-4200)

Originally posted Aug 24, 2006
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