We learned two things about Somewhere Fun, a new play at the Vineyard Theatre, from Sunday’s New York Times. The first is that Jenny Schwartz, its young playwright, revels in the workshop process, in which she spends happy years developing a new work. The second is that she’s very meticulous—controlling, even—about the words in her script, brooking no deviation by her director or actors.
The verbal precision is understandable, as evidenced onstage at the Vineyard, where this surrealistic, downcast comedy opened last night. Ms. Schwartz’s linguistic dexterity is inspiring and her wordplay inspired; throughout the play, especially its offbeat, morbid romp of a first act, the fast-paced, masterful dialogue and monologues propel the enterprise—and the audience—along. What’s harder to credit, though, is the idea that this play has been so thoroughly workshopped, because it is difficult to imagine what it might have gained from the workshop process. For all the lexicographic virtuosity on display in Somewhere Fun, the play manages to lack any discernible message, point or reason for being. Read More