The Internet is a strange thing to try to represent on stage, and when it's a future Internet, unlike anything we've seen before, it's a difficult proposition to make real. In Lally Katz's careening Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart, a young Australian woman named Caroline (Nicolle Bradford) goes to MySpaceNewYork for the wedding of her friend Japan (Samantha Sherman), who is a suicide- a person who no longer exists except in virtual form. While acting as Maid of Honor, she meets handsome suicide Thornbury (Ryan King), who coincidentally has the same name as Caroline's Australian town. On very little provocation, Caroline moves into MySpaceNewYork to become an Avalanche-Dweller (living people who inhabit virtual spaces), and woo the apathetic Thornbury. She meets his Avalanche-dwelling father (Andrew Dawson) and mother (Rae C. Wright) who want him to move to MySpaceMoscow before MySpaceNewYork collapses, and then gets a job at a virtual vegan no-gluten café, and ignores everyone who tells her that her relationship with Thornbury is as illusory as he is.
The play is never boring, and chock-full of whimsical ideas about how people will connect in a future digital age (though some of it is confusing in retrospect- people can actually travel to MySpaceNewYork and live there). However, the Avalanche-Dwellers seem rather nonsensical- when faced with the Suicides, they attempt to project still-human ideals onto their lovers'/children's indifferent hedonistic avatars, facing continual defeat, no matter how many emotions they can download from iTunes. I suppose there's something to be said for love still attempting to conquer all, but after a while, their futile striving comes across as idiotic.
The acting is good, with all the suicides keeping up an eerily cheerful deadpan. Polly Lee is hilarious and pathetic as Miss Jacklyn, a poetry-writing Avalanche-Dweller still in love with her Suicided high school sweetheart, and Brian Robert Burns has a great scene as Caroline's unhelpful no-nonsense almost-sweetheart Andy. While Nicolle Bradford has a winning quality to her, she especially plays Caroline as too smart and sensible to really be taken in by such a gossamer gent as Thornbury.
The play is presented in a dead visual style, with the gymnasium-like stage (design by Valérie Thérèse Bart) all in muted greys, only the bright costumes (Carolyn Hoffman) popping out to relieve the virtual gloom.
I found Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart interesting, if not truly moving.
The Production Company proudly presents the World Premiere of Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart, written by Lally Katz and directed by Oliver Butler. Goodbye New York, Goodbye Heart runs from December 1 - 21, 2010 in a limited engagement at HERE, located at 145 6th Avenue (Enter on Dominick, 1 block south of Spring) in NYC. Previews begin December 1 for a December 2 opening.
Performances are Tuesdays - Saturdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 4pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at http://www.here.org or by calling 212-352-3101. Running time is 90 minutes. Train access via the C or E to Spring St., 1 to Houston St., or N or R to Prince St. For more information on the company and show visit http://www.ProductionCompany.org.
Photo Credit: Rick Ngoc Ho
- Nicolle Bradford (Caroline), Ryan King (Thornbury)
- Polly Lee (Miss Jacklyn). Background (L-R): Danielle Slavick (Claire), Nicolle Bradford (Caroline) and Erin Maya Darke (Sally).