By: Sandi Durell
It would be hard to grow up with a white trash narcissistic, toilet mouth mother like Donna (Erin Cummings), especially if you’re a really bright 15 year old who carries around “House of Mirth” and spouts off literary jargon. But poor Lottie (Alexis Molnar), has to put up with living in a van (that smells from multi feet), in the grifter life style in which Donna survives in Chad Beguelin’s comedy Harbor, now playing at 59e59 Theaters, a Primary Stage production.
Donna’s younger brother Kevin (Randy Harrison – “Queer As Folk”) is married to a stable wealthy architect Ted (Paul Anthony Stewart) and they’re nicely settled into a house in Sag Harbor, with hyphenated names. And there’s no doubt that Ted really doesn’t like kids when confronted with the thought of he and Kevin having a family, as it doesn’t take much for him to go off on a tangent about pushy entitled parents and their double-wide strollers. This premise becomes a close reality when scheming pothead Donna just happens by, calling from a gas station 3 blocks from their home. Kevin and Ted are one of those happy gay couples who seem to be living a great life – expensive home, nice furnishings, Ted makes the money and Kevin (whose background is from poor white Christmas trash), well, he’s been trying to become a writer for 10 years.
When ditzy Donna arrives, looking like a street walker, all hell breaks loose as she inserts herself into their life, spouting off at the mouth, baiting the couple and suddenly the overnight stay elongates into 3 months because Donna announces she’s pregnant (as Lottie runs out saying “I’m going to get her a wire hanger”).
Lottie is an all too serious and bright teen with no friends who has tried to get Donna to tell her who her father is. Ted is the catalyst as he unearths the man’s name and phone number. The scene in which Lottie calls him on the phone just to talk is a heartbreaker, Molnar giving a devastating performance as our dislike for Donna is stirred even more.
As Donna tries to get her brother to take her baby, saying that it would be good for him and Ted, the play takes a turn away from the outwardly humorous content Beguelin has written, as the underlying seriousness of this new situation forces Ted to unload truths to Kevin that break the bonds and change their idyllic life.
Beguelin is an accomplished playwright and lyricist (having written The Wedding Singer) and knows how to elicit the guffaws in this sitcom style production. The actors are all competent in their grasp of characters and delivery to the credit of director Mark Lamos.
The interior set design, by Andrew Jackness, gives off the aura of money.
Harbor, 2 ½ hours with intermission, continues thru September 8th at 59e59 Theaters. Primarystages.org