STAY JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER
by Harvey Perr
now playing at the Rattlestick Theatre
ends April 15, 2007
"Stay," Lucy Thurber's new play at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, poses some provocative questions. Is a published writer
necessarily qualified to be a teacher? Can that teacher reach out to others if she clearly hasn't looked enough into herself? Is it
possible that, in hiding her feelings from herself, she is denying her sexuality? How many people are affected by her behavior? Who,
finally, is responsible for whom? And can art save a writer from life? And yet, how can art exist without somehow plunging into the
darker truths of life? Will the hope, which "magic" provides, die if one takes that plunge?
One can't help but admire Ms. Thurber for bringing such interesting questions to our attention. She certainly has a large
talent, as well as an abiding belief in human contact, and should be watched. Still, it seems fair to say that Ms. Thurber has crowded
too much into her play for it to be fully satisfying; some of her insights are complex enough to suggest profundity while others are
callow and not fully considered.
The Rattlestick has given Ms. Thurber's play the best kind of production; it skillfully exploits its virtues without disguising
its weaknesses. And there is no better way for the playwright to learn the ways in which her play works than by this approach. Ms.
Thurber should be grateful to her director, Jackson Gay, for some nice nuanced work. All the actors - Maggie Siff as the writer/teacher,
Jess Weixler as the student who not only worships her but is interested in drawing her into her own world, an especially ingratiating
Sam Rosen as the student who, in turn, worships Ms. Weixler, Thomas Sadoski as Siff's brother who knows only too well why his sister
shuns human commitment, Jenny Maguire as an angelic presence in the apparitional form of a pesky teenager - are very good indeed.
"Stay" should be imperative theater for anyone interested in where our new playwrights are coming from and in what they are