1

1

 

1

0

 

0

9

 

 

T

H

E

A

T

R

E

 

 

1

1

 

1

0

 

0

9

 

 

 

 

 

   


 

       

Superior Donuts

 
 

Coffee, Charm, 
& Comedy....

   

 

Tracy Letts's Superior Donuts is a warm delightful evening of theater, one which leaves you with a lovely fuzzy feeling as you step back out into the night.  Letts's previous effort, August: Osage County, which won him the Tony and the Pulitzer last year, was a dark dramatic tour-de-force; Donuts is gentler, lighter territory, a comedic slice of American life.  Pithy exchanges and rapid-fire one-liners move the comedy-drama delightfully along; the superb actors and their finely drawn if somewhat exaggerated characters lend the play much of its intimate charm.  

 

 

Arthur Przybyszewski (Michael McKean) owns Superior Donuts, a small rundown shop in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood that he inherited from his late father, a Polish immigrant fiercely loyal to his adopted country.  Arthur still wears a ponytail and a weathered tie-dyed T-shirt, an aging hippie who has faded from life like the color from his jeans.  Resigned, afraid of intimacy, he seems mired in stasis.  That is, until a brash young African-American named Franco Wicks (Jon Michael Hill) swaggers into his shop looking for a job, and begins dispensing romantic and business wisdom with infectious optimism.  Hill is ebullient as Wicks, forceful and funny; McKean with his restraint is perfect foil.  The ancillary characters, two policemen played by Kate Buddeke and James Vincent Meredith, the racist but bighearted Russian owner of the DVD store next door (Yasen Peyanov), a loan shark (Robert Maffia), and an old lady (Jane Alderman) who comes in daily for a donut, round out the cast.

 

Much of the play is fueled by the relationship and rapport between Arthur and Franco: the older man seems to have given up on life itself, the younger enthusiastic and upbeat.  Arthur surprises Franco by reeling off the names of ten black poets in quick succession, the young Franco in turn gives him surprisingly insightful dating advice.  The two quickly become friends in spite of the obvious differences that separate them.  Franco is the catalyzing force in the relationship and a symbol of hope, a bright young man who has written a novel on a huge stack of pads and notebooks.  Its title: America Will Be, taken from a line in the Langston Hughes poem Let America Be America Again.  When things take a turn for the worse, and the play reveals the heart beneath the comedy, Arthur shows surprising reserves of courage and moral fortitude: the two will have pulled each other from situations that, separately, neither could have conquered.  

 

See: Superior Donuts 

 

Read: Let America Be America Again: And Other Poems, Langston Hughes    

 

Tags:  theatre  broadway

 


 

 

 

Share:                      

 

Permalink    

 

 

 

     

Subscribe About Us Editorial Policy Privacy Policy Contact Us Unsubscribe  

Press Archives Search  

 

 

2009 eCognoscente