Broadway Review: ‘Pictures From Home’ Starring Nathan Lane, Danny Burstein and Joey Wanamaker

Why do we always remember logic? If there’s a family feud at the Thanksgiving table, grandma’s gravy recipe will be remembered long after it’s lost to the ages.

Sharr White’s new play Pictures from home Driving that simple fact home, and then making so many return trips that you imagine the ride could be done blindfolded. Given a loving production, the play opens tonight at Broadway’s Studio 54, starring a trio of Broadway’s finest — Nathan Lane, Danny Burstein and Joey Wanamaker — who couldn’t be more devoted to the poignant memoir when it comes to their own families. . And Pictures from home As a brand new Polaroid with clear and crisp observations often pierces its own nostalgia. Lots and lots of Polaroids.

Based on the unlikely origins of photographer Larry Sultan’s astonishing 1992 photo book of the same title, which included then-new photos along with old scrapbook family photos, the Bartlett Sher-directed biographical memoir chronicles the years of effort in which Larry (played by Burstein) finds his home in San Francisco. flies from Los Angeleno to photograph his parents, father Irving (Lane) and mother Jean (Wanamaker), as they go about the business of daily living.

Initially set in the 1980s, when Larry has already (and very frequently) been pointing the camera at Mom and Dad for eight years, Pictures from home sets its focus (at least initially) on the father-son relationship, even without the annoyance of the camera click click click. Larry won’t stop until he makes some kind of breakthrough, revealing past life surface images and public faces. real The man and woman who gave him life.

Burstein (Photo: Julieta Cervantes)

The project especially consumes the retired Irving, who at first objects to the mostly repetitive nature of the project but gradually comes out with what’s really bothering him: Larry’s quest. authentic Not-so-subtly suspicious and even reprimanded of Irving having built a successful (and lucrative) career as a corporate go-getter. that Irving, Larry believes, is and always has been as frontal, shallow, and artificial as the 8×10 corporate headshot that Irving prefers to Larry’s warts-and-wrinkles-and-all realism.

As Larry’s images (originally by an unseen assistant character) are projected onto a large wall of the family’s mid-century modern farmhouse (designed with an appealing minimalism by Michael Yeargan, the details are revealed by projection designs by Ben Pearcy/59 Productions), the characters are often fourth. Break through walls and make their case directly to the audience. And as each character tries to deconstruct the image they appear in (the images are taken directly from Sultan’s book, so feature his real parents), Irving has an almost morbid and sometimes unpleasant disposition that bleeds through with age. Those, of course, are the sort of images Larry has going for him.

Due to father and son bickering and arguing over issues, Ma Jin is mostly in the role of peacekeeper, at least initially. A close-up photo of herself, busy and on her way to the real estate job that has made her the couple’s de facto breadwinner, tells a truth she has struggled to hide from Irving: unlike the men in the family, she has a very successful career. A sense of guilt has been absorbed, a guilt Irving has reinforced over the years: He has often called his top-dollar career a hobby.

While intimate and honest views of a family’s inner workings can’t help but touch our hearts in moments of still-motion, Pictures from home Especially blunt in his characterization with father and son, repeating their arguments and complaints with overwhelming frequency. Lane has the hardest job here, convincing the audience that we don’t know who he really is, that we haven’t seen a version of this guy that’s been shown and portrayed in everything. An American Family from (at its extreme) legacy. The challenge proves somewhat difficult even for the unyielding and always appealing lane, whose holes can be filled with high-volume point-making to the left.

At the end of the play, we can’t help but feel sympathy for all concerned, characters and actors, but sadly, these are the arguments we’ll remember.

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