Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop’s production of Dinner with Georgette is basically Tony Kushner gone wrong.
Despite some dramaturgical flights of fancy evocative enough to consider playwright Rick Burkhardt promising, the incongruity between their overwhelming volume creates a dramatic dissonance that ultimately proves incomprehensibly unwieldy, particularly in the second half when the characters and plot are completely lost in the dramaturgical mess, crumbling under its weight.
The blurry line between being intellectual and pedantic usually comes down to the audience’s confusion, and I have a feeling that very few — while appreciating and picking up on inventive strands here and there — would be able to understand the whole picture enough to stay engaged throughout.
If only the play adhered to the subtle brilliance of the title; the name therein reinforces the text’s deconstructions of gender binaries (further reinforced in the production’s artwork, seen above). Note how such simplicity still contains deep resonance. Hopefully Burkhardt channels this “less is more” approach in more than just the moniker for his next work…