It’s a SHAME that this did not live up its potential–to what a writers such as Dante or Tennessee Williams might have brought to the playwright’s table–via writing & characters worthy of allegory, drama, and spiritual journey. It was too focused on transient issues related to being Chinese & immigrant, that the problems of fitting into a sort of American mainstream are remote, distant, and impossible to attain. This is cheap, manipulative, overdone, and a fiction. It was tedious.
The premise: a delivery man is stuck in an elevator for 81 hours, based on a true story. This had the potential to explore an inner journey rivaling what Dante wrote, required reading once upon a time. Instead, the diffusion & confusion of feeling self-pity was the overarching lynch pin of what was being presented, with a story line that pulled itself in too many politically correct directions without satisfactorily settling on a life that was in danger of being lost in the most grotesque of possible circumstances. The wife & son were written as such insipid & uninspiring characters, that life in the elevator presented a certain charm & allure compared to the dreary life of perpetual “Hello Kitty” take-out food. I would have opted for the elevator, rather than being stuck with no way out. His family life had all the vitality of a stale loaf of Wonderbread. The actors were wonderfully talented & sang with terrific musicality, but there was nothing about any of the characters as written that lived up to the talent being used to breathe life into such pabulum.
Most of what I have seen in the last couple of years at ACT has been worthy of my time & energy, but this one was tedious, tedious, tedious…In the end, the dysfunctional elevator door mysteriously opens, but it seemed that life ending in dehydration & starvation inside the freight elevator would have been infinitely preferable to the grim routine he was destined to re-enter. In being allowed to live, the man died, only it just took longer to happen.