How It’s New York: The play takes place in Loveladies, NJ– on the Jersey Shore.
How It’s Irish: It’s Jirish! there’s Riverdance (ish) music! It’s also somewhat Celto-Slav, because director Peter DuBois spent time in Prague in the 90s, and is in my dissertation.
As the only New York journalist who writes for both Irish Music Magazine and the Forward, I’ve got to keep my Jirishness up! So I did a Q&A for The Forward with Scrubs/Garden State/Chicken Little actor Zach Braff. He was about to open hie new play– not in it, but one he wrote, at Second Stage Theatre Company, All New People. I also reviewed the play for Baristanet, which is a New Jersey site that covers Millburn (where I live) and South Orange (Braff’s hometown, two over from mine). I also chatted with Braff a bit about being a Jersey boy there.
For preshow music, we hear bagpipes wailing away (we’re later told it’s from Riverdance, though I’m not entirely sure of that). Once the show begins, the music becomes onstage, from another room– and it’s playing while the main character, Charlie (Justin Bartha) stands on a chair with a noose around his neck.
It’s not a coincidence. He was dumped by a girlfriend who just LOVED the stuff, though he fuking hated it. Still she would dance around to it in her underwear and it made him happy. That she left him is not the only reason he’s suicidal– he’s an air traffic controller, or he was. One day, all depressed because of his Irish-music loving girlfriend’s departure (she was too young for him and he knew it wouldn’t last), he gets philosophical watching two ants battle over a crumb. He even prays. While he’s doing that, of course, he causes a tragedy (THAT, my friends, is Jewish humor, not Jirish; really dark and philosophical; you believe but it doesn’t especially make things nicer… the whole “while I was praying people died” thing. It’s also right in there with Jewish humor that oddballs show up one by one to keep him from killing himself).
Here’s the Review:
All New People plays Tues- Sun, at Second Stage Theatre, 306 W. 43rd St., NYC, except for Aug. 1 when there is a Monday night performance. Matinees Wed., Sat. and Sun., except for Aug. 7. Check the Second Stage Calendar for showtimes.