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Roger L. Simon

Years to the Day — A Play the Right Can Stomach

April 15th, 2013 - 12:24 am

Libertarians and conservatives who complain they have little to see in the cinema and theatre that even remotely expresses their views – and when they do, it’s almost always pretty amateurish stuff – have cause to rejoice in Allen Barton’s Years to the Day, currently in a limited run at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

But the play — a dialogue between two longtime friends, one liberal, one conservative/libertarian — is far more than a political tract. It is a meditation on midlife in most of its important aspects — relationships, family, sexuality, technology, politics, health, and (naturally) death.

The structure of the play — two friends, graduates of an “elite university,” meeting for coffee for the first time in four years and then going after each other, often quite wittily, for eighty minutes, as one hidden secret after another pours out — owes much to David Mamet and Edward Albee. But — dare I say it — I found Barton’s work in many ways more engaging than that of the more famous playwrights, perhaps because those revelations related more to my life. They had a decidedly contemporary edge.

I won’t reveal what they were because they are the fun of the play — and you should see it while you can. Especially if you are a conservative or libertarian, this will be like finding an oasis in the Sahara of the American theatre. But bring your liberal friends too. They may see a very different play from you here — and it will be sure to generate a lot “interesting” conversation afterwards. (When is the last time that happened?)

I assure you the production is up to snuff, well-directed by Joe Polis with fine performances by Michael Yavnieli and Jeff LeBeau. Barton himself, as many of you know, hosted the “Front Page” show for PJTV. He is also a theatre director, acting teacher, and concert pianist. (I know — one of those accomplished people. What can we do?)

Tickets are available here. If you are anywhere near Southern California, go.

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All Comments   (9)
All Comments   (9)
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Thanks Roger
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"But bring your liberal friends too."

My what?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I miss "Front Page", too. A lot.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hugh Hewitt raved about this play after he saw it in NYC and had Allen Barton on his show. They, too, were careful about not giving away too much, but it sounded intriguing. It had a very short run in New York. That could have been by design, of course, or it could be--no surprise--that it just couldn't find an audience. Hope it's got one in LA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Couple of comments...

1) I only have 1 liberal friend. The wife of a conservative friend. (What is it the Bible says about being unequally yoked?) And while she is liberal, she's not as liberal as she'd like to believe she is. As for other liberal friends... nope. Not gonna happen. I simply can't stand being around them.

2) I've tried to have "intetresting" conversations with liberals. I gave up.

3) I miss "Front Page".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lardo,
I'm impressed!Can tell your a christian.
In this day&time its good to meet another person who sees what I do in my daily life.One thats quickly becoming corrupted&away from God himself.Liz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I didn't write for a few weeks- but Roger, congratulations on your grandchildren. You wrote your son and his beloved had two children- congratulations! You sounded so proud of your son, and so delighted with your grandchildren. Blessings on your house, blessings on the children from your house!

it's good to hear that you aren't lonely, or alone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry posted accidentally before I was finished - just want to add that a penetrating and witty dramatic exploration of the culture wars at the 'Eastern Intellectual Establishment' end of the spectrum could go a long way toward getting beyond the current stand off.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Living as I do in Perth Western Australia I wont get to see this play any time soon, but like you I am the graduate of an elite school and have moved from the left to just about where you are on the political spectrum. I grew up in New Hampshire not far from Dartmouth College, but went like my father and mother to Columbia.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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