The Manhattan couple at the center of Another Way Home, Anna Ziegler's new play at the Magic Theatre, are chatting with us. They launch into their narrative with all the social energy of cocktail party conversation. He finishes her sentences, she his. She interrupts him, he interrupts her. They bicker. They are a long-married couple.
It may remind you of the set-up in Six Degrees of Separation, the John Guare play and subsequent movie, which begins with an affluent Manhattan couple telling their friends about a really unusual episode that recently transpired.
Mark Pinter as Philip and Kim Martin-Cotten as Lillian
In Another Way Home, the Nadelmans tell their tale with a "we have such a story to tell you" flair. But their story is not an anecdote; it's a story of a family -- their family -- in distress. We do indeed want to hear about the Nadelman's family crisis. The Magic's world premiere of Ziegler's play ultimately conveys how badly parents and their children can hurt one another. Earnest sentiments ring true and family dynamics can hit home. Still, under Meredith McDonough's unbalanced direction, the narrative tone is off-key.
Joey Nadelman (Daniel Petzold), the 16-year-old son is a handful, to say the least. And in the play, Joey, who is in crisis, says the least. Petzold expertly navigates the character's fuming silences, angry outbursts and inner turmoil. Like Joey, we would like to hear him get a word in edgewise.