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A CurtainUp Review
Sixty Miles to Silver Lake
By Jenny Sandman
The story of a young boy and his father, trapped in a car ride after soccer practice, has both dealing with the fallout of a nasty divorce. Time and space warp in the play—the young boy, Denny, is 15, then 11, then 13, then going to college and back again. The entire play takes place in the front seat of his father's Volvo headed for a joint-custody weekend in the Silver Lake of the title.
Ky is desperately trying to reconnect with his son, now nearly lost to him thanks to adolescence and the divorce. As time wraps back on itself, again and again, we gradually learn the horrifying details of the divorce and its long-term effect on Denny's life.
Dane DeHaan is heartbreaking (and accurate) as Denny, mortified by his father one moment and trying to impress him the next. Joseph Adams as Ky is as embarrassing as every dad is at that age. His Ky overflows with gruff, friendly attempts at contact, playful punches, pinches, head-pats, and completely inappropriate dating advice ("Got your fingers fishy yet, son?") Despite the confined setting, the play is a s strangely active, with both actors are fidgety, constantly moving. It's obvious their characters feel trapped with each other. Being men, they're both trying to find their way out of the quagmire of bad emotion surrounding the divorce and their now-hesitant bond.
This nuanced look at a troubled relationship is written in an oddly poetic syntax that sounds natural to the ear. The direction (by Anne Kauffman, of God's Ear fame and others) isn't without its flaw. It's distracing to have the car break apart in strange ways moving all over the stage during the last minutes of the play. The dialogue should have taken precedence. And the "is it safe" bits per the quote are segregated into weird montages of horror-movie lighting and microphone sound effects;—almost as if the play were being shoehorned into a naturalist production, when it's anything but naturalistic. Nevertheless, it's a fine production of a new play by a hot playwright—a perfect follow-up to SoHo Rep's success with Sarah Kane's Blasted