Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
A surreal dark comedy featuring some recently dead folk finding themselves in Limbo, in this case a steamroom with an unlit exit. Morty, the Puerto Rican steamroom attendant, is actually God, who's bored and wants to keep a few souls around for a time before consigning them to the afterlife. Written by
Excellent, Dark, Funny, Devastating and mostly all here.
This is a story about shredding illusions and self-deceit about life. The characters are all dead in a waiting room for eternity that is a steam bath with a Hispanic attendant who is more than he appears. One by one they understand the actual situation and all but the main character come to acceptance of the life he or she had and that it is time to move on. The main character is more deeply enmeshed in the self-deceptions of his life than the others. This fact provides the central thread and conclusion of the play. In the meantime the audience gets many pungent and humorous reflections from the characters.
There have been negative reviews of this TV production mostly because of some editing for language from the stage version. This is more a criticism of the TV establishment of the time than of the play or its production here. I have the stage version and have read it. In my opinion all the important aspects and meaning of this play are preserved in this video production and it is well worth watching. The removed language is not critical to the work. Much of what was changed then would be allowed now even on network TV. (Of course, on cable it could be produced exactly to the book, unless A&E got a hold of it in which case it would be scarcely recognizable.)
This play is not a life affirming upbeat work for people who think everything has a purpose and all things work out for the best. But it is one of my favorites.
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