The challenge to successfully directing Durang is finding the right note to strike. While the content of the show- still borns, alcoholism, verbal abuse, general family dysfunction- are not funny on their own, the vehicle is hilarious, and it is important for the actors to be unapologetic and dive right in. As Durang says in his extensive notes that are almost as amusing as the play itself, “Some people, I’m told, dismiss this play as too angry; I don’t agree with them and feel that they may be denying something that I’ve found to be true: that unless you go through all the genuine angers you feel, both justified and unjustified, the feelings of love that you do have will not have any legitimate base and will be at least partially false. Plus, eventually you will go crazy.”
I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes you need to do more than just scream into a pillow and smile bravely on.