Today, as I said yesterday I was going to do, I went to the theater at SCR's Agyros stage and saw a premiere called "The Happy Ones."It was a play about Orange County, of all places, Garden Grove, peopled by folks some years older than I am (it was set in 1975).
I am not sure I liked the play that much, actually, but the leading actor was appealing and set the right tone as a very satisfied guy with a family he adored, a successful business, and the idea that everything he did was golden. Of course, in a play someone with that attitude must be spoiling for a fall, and fall he did, when a young Vietnamese man hit his family straight on, going the wrong way on the freeway. They died, but the man who hit them lived, though he tried to kill himself afterwards, and of course, he and the surviving husband and father ended up becoming friends.
The man who had hit his family had lost his parents and his own wife and children to the war in Vietnam, and was, in his words, only "a ghost." This character's performance, almost entirely without affect for much of the time, reflected that belief. But the two men helped each other survive the tragedies that left them survivors.
The relationship at the core of the play was good enough to make it at least partially a success. But the peripheral relationships in the play, such as that between the floozy neighbor, a loud and annoying character in flawless 70s garb, and the main character's best friend, a Unitarian minister who wasn't really too good at his job, was too sit-com for its own good. I could swear I heard the laugh tracks.
It was as though the genuine emotion between the Vietnamese man and the main character had to fight to find a place, uncomfortably, in a shallow made for tv film. But it was interesting, and by chance (perhaps not by chance, since she probably got her ticket from the same person I got mine from), I sat next to a person from the synagogue who asked me a lot of questions. As a therapist (every other person at the synagogue seems to be a therapist, if s/he isn't a lawyer or doctor), she was good at getting things out of me. She ought to just come here and read my blog.