“Now or Later” – A Timely Play

Emily White ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

Grant MacDermott, Michael Goldsmith, and Ryan King in the Huntington Theatre Company’s American premiere production of Christopher Shinn’s NOW OR LATER. Photo: Paul Marotta

The Huntington Theatre Company’s Now or Later is an extremely timely play that brings the audience face to face with the issues today’s Americans are often too afraid to discuss. Issues of homosexuality, Islam, and depression are all central to the plot and the characters, and are unavoidable.

Set in a hotel room during the 2008 election night, the hyper-realistic set (complete with even a mini fridge) makes it clear how close the audience is to the scenario played out on stage. The Democratic presidential candidate’s son, John Jr., played by Grant MacDermott, grapples with his own struggles with morality, identity, and his relationship with his father, John Sr. ( played by Tom Nelis).

The cast of characters flows in and out of John Jr.’s hotel room, as the scandal of his college party antics escalates into a full-blown ideological battle between him and every character that enters. The conflict itself is interesting at first, but is beaten over the head throughout the play that John Jr.’s initial reaction of stubborn refusal to issue an apology seems ridiculous by the end. The overall action is very stagnant, which does not help a wordy script. However, when John Sr. enters the picture and things get more physical, the audience was on the edge of their seats. If the show had focused a tad more on John Jr.’s emotional issues and his relationship with his father, this play would be a must-see. Nevertheless, it is still a strong show.

This play is an excellent show for anyone invested in today’s politics, and anyone of voting age who wants to be informed. However, at points it can feel more like an ideological lecture than a play.

The play runs now through November 10 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. For specific show times and pricing information please visit huntingtontheatre.org.

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