The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings






Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
Writing for Us

A CurtainUp Review
Stay. . .as part of the Fall 2013 Thurber Hill Town Plays Retrospective
This 1997 production is getting a new life as part of a Thurber marathon sponsored by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater an.d Axis Company at various downtown location. This new version will be at the New Ohio Theatre 154 Christopher Street From 8/22/13; closing 9/28/13. It's got a new director, cast and design team as follows: Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch. Cast: McCaleb Burnett, Mikaela Feely-Lehmann, Hani Furstenberg, Brian Miskell, Jenny Seastone Stern. Rachel Hauck (Set), Jessica Pabst (Costume), Burke Brown (Lighting), Leon Rothenberg (Sound). What Monday at 7PM, Tuesday at 7PM, Thursday at 7PM, Friday at 8PM, Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 3PM and 8PM.

I like fiction to move me, but yours doesn't. You make shapes and colors, but you lack heart.—Tommy
Stay -Jenny Maguire & Maggie Siff
L-R: Jenny Maguire & Maggie Siff
(Photo: Sandra Coudert)
The above quote addressed to Rachel, the up-and-coming young novelist and protagonist Lucy Thurber's new play Stay was greeted by laughs the night I saw it even though that's not its intent. On the contrary, it's an honest and serious moment. So why the chuckles? Most likely it's because others in attendance found it as indicative of the play as a whole as I did.

This new work from Thurber features interesting characters and plenty of weighty ideas. Though it has an admirable poetic, otherworldly quality, it isn't as moving, or convincing as it should be.

We meet Rachel (Maggie Siff), a promising young writer and new college professor, just as her life starts to go awry. To begin with, she fears she'll miss her book deadline because of writer's block. Next, her slightly unstable brother Billy (Thomas Sadoski) arrives for a surprise visit. Then, one of her students (Jess Weixler as Julia) starts unapologetically stalking her. But these external problems are mere catalysts for the show's real, internal focus. Because of all her stress, Rachel's starts to have troubles communicating with her secret, giggly angel and muse (Jenny Maguire in a fluttery white dress). Her brother's arrival also brings out her dormant emotional baggage from her dysfunctional, abusive father. What's more, Julia seems to have an uncanny, magical ability to see into Rachel's soul, leading to all sorts of painful revelations and an odd attraction between the two women.

So there are two worlds in the play, those of internal horrors and external conflicts. The single biggest problem with the piece is that neither Thurber nor director Jackson Gay seems to fully address either. Shortcuts are everywhere. The realistic scenes are often either implausible (why does everyone decide to head over to Rachel's house at 5 am, for example?) or predictable, and the big moments don't feel warranted. Maybe that's also due to the fact that the cast doesn't quite sell their characters' dark pasts. For instance, I had a hard time believing that the brash and jovial Sadoski possessed such a dark soul and haunting childhood. The more fantastical elements, meanwhile, are oddly grounded. The Angel, for example, is clearly meant to be a secret inspiration to Rachel. But Maguire's stage presence is more petulant than powerful, and the angel feels like a heavy, distracting symbol rather than an attractive and dominant force.

Without either a believable real world or an evocative inward conflict, there is too little for the audience to grasp. Thurber is a talented writer who has created some lively characters locked in difficult situations, potentially the recipe for a fascinating drama. Stay's interesting and ambitious elements don't, however, overcome the problems of both script and production making it difficult to commit to the play emotionally engaged, or to take it as seriously as it seemed to take itself.

Playwright: Lucy Thurber
Directed by Jackson Gay
Cast: Jenny Maguire (Floating Girl), Sam Rosen (Tommy), Thomas Sadoski (Billy), Maggie Siff (Rachel), Jess Weixler (Julia)
Set Design: Erik Flatmo
Costume Design: Jenny Mannis
Lighting Design: Scott Bolman
Sound Design: Daniel Baker

Running time: 2 hours, includes one intermission or 90 minutes without an intermission.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 224 Waverly Place (between W. 11th and Perry Streets), 212-868-4444
From 3/11//07 to 4/14/07; opening 3/19/07
Weds to Sat @ 8pm, Sun 7pm
Tickets: $40
Reviewed by Julia Furay based on March 15 performance
broadway musicals: the 101 greatest shows of all time
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.

Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide

At This Theater Cover
At This Theater

Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide

The Broadway Theatre Archive>


©Copyright 2007, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from