Blood From A Stone at the New Group

Blood From A Stone is written by Tommy Nohilly, a first time playwright.  His play is currently being performed at the New Group on 42nd Street starring Ethan Hawke. 

It is a long play, almost 3 hours.  The play is about a dysfunctional family where the children are adults.  It is clear that the father and mother truly dislike each other at this point living very separate lives under the roof of a house that should be condemned.  The anger is at a boiling point.  Whatever went on growing up, which we do get glimpses of, certainly had a major impact on the three adults we see today.  The caretaker sister who is trying to create a separate life for herself, the dead beat gambling lying middle brother who has completely lost his way even though he is married with two kids and the oldest brother played by Ethan Hawke.  After living in NYC for a stretch and I believe a stint in the marine corp, the older brother comes home after quitting his job to say good-bye and get some cash before he hits the road for California probably never to return.

The play is well written with some really good dialogue.  It is in your face from the second the first act opens.  For a first time playwright, the play is impressive.  There are many unanswered questions about each character particularly the older brother and I wanted more of an "aha" moment about his life and why he was making the choices he was making.  Instead when the older brother comes home he is just pulled right back into the insanity that goes on between the family members making it difficult for him to part ways.  The underlying anger and violence is just constantly there with screaming and tension that there aren't any highs and low in the play, no nuances, just a story about a family living their lives with appear to be a miserable existence with layers of badness boiling to explosion. 

Ethan Hawke is such an outstanding actor that his constant presence on the stage really upstages everyone else.  He is just so good.  Three hours is a bit longer than need be but the run has been extended and my guess is we will see other plays from this playwright down the line.  I liked it but I just felt it needed a little more depth. 

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