“For me it was like experiencing the intimate and personal gender bending battles one has when seeking a place to let off steam.”

Larry Littany Litt, New York Theatre Wire

April 24, 2024

Trend setting director Ildiko Nemeth deliciously and daringly thrusts disparately alienated characters into a smokehouse of desparately hanging flanks of meat. For me it was like experiencing the intimate and personal gender bending battles one has when seeking a place to let off steam. Only this smokehouse is actually a roadhouse in the great Western American desert where we find little comfort for the forlorn.

The only way to explain these characters’ interactions is to ask why are they all suffering magnificently when they are all so good looking and beautifully dressed? It appears to be one night stand heaven, especially for the older visitors. But wait. All the characters have histories they must reveal in order to live in the moment. That is the genius of Ildiko Nemeth. She asks her characters to be real people with their minds endlessly working to get some little peace. Is confession a road to peace in the roadhouse of life? It is and yet it isn’t.

The young actors are dressed for cosplay in high Western style. But appearances don’t make them happy. Appearances are deceiving. A cowboy in full gear is really just a little boy wanting to have a ranchside family which he knows he can never have. A young girl lives in fear of fear but is welcomed into a womens’ club as she wants to grow into something worthwhile. But can she when she’s only to willing to reveal herself in pure white undergarments?

Another young woman brags about her full life as she worries about her looks and fulsome figure. Can she remain young and beautiful just long enough to find that perfect partner?

On the other extreme an old burnt out motorcycle gang member reminisces about his illustrious past with the guys. Yet he has nothing now but memories of sex and violence to perk him up so he becomes a predator. I thought for sure he was going to mate with the cowboy. What do I know? Instead he bullies his way into conversations where he stands out like an octopus on the shore.

However the solo performance by an imagined member of this road crew royalty makes them all look sane and desirable. His performance shows the other characters that they are not suffering enough. No one suffers like faded darkening nobility.

The ultimate human tragedy of “In The Common Hour” is the lack of lust and comedy. However the encounters between characters and the dance of life make this a worthwhile experience.