“Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life” is what Laura Linney confides in us. Her profound isolation is vast and deep and “it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth” she tells us. Reflecting on her traumatically impoverished childhood in rural illinois, she recalls being locked in a trunk by her father, a PTSD-scarred veteran. Now, a success in New York City, she once again is alone: hospitalized after complications from an appendectomy.
An unexpected visit from her estranged mother, who spends five days with her in the hospital is where the story kicks in. Her mother is a judgemental,gossipy and pushy. Her mother takes pleasure in talking about people from the old neighborhood, how many messed up their lives with infidelities and other failings. Even though Lucy is grateful for the company, it is the things not said that is most significant.
Linney is best in this play when she’s inhabiting her mother, her voice becomes Midwestern, more through her nose and very effective. Narrating as Lucy, however, is where this play becomes so-so. Even though Linney tries very hard to put forth internal struggle, we get the sense that Lucy is writing for us and not speaking to us. The big problem with this play is that it does not feel like a novel nor a play and it leaves us wanting more.