|Photo by Jeremy Daniel|
There are friends, and there are neighbors — but they don't always come in the same affable package, as David Schwimmer can readily attest these days while toiling over Detroit. Lisa D'Amour's new play — a Pulitzer Prize finalist — is running at Playwrights Horizons.
One of the world's better-known "Friends" — thanks to the decade of primetime he put in on the TV series by that name — Schwimmer has reached a point, and a play, in his career where his character can matter-of-factly admit, "We don't have any friends."
What "we" — Ben and his wife Mary (Amy Ryan) — do have are neighbors: Kenny (Darren Pettie) and Sharon (Sarah Sokolvic), a pair of sexy young recovering addicts on a fresh stretch of hope that long ago burnt out for the older pair.
"The recurring theme of the play is: What is a neighbor these days? Do you really have neighbors? Who are they to you? And what is the difference between a friend and a neighbor? It certainly seems — at least in this play — that our characters admit they don't have any friends and they don't even seem to know their neighbors. That kind of isolation, even within a community, is, I think, a natural byproduct of today."
In these tough financial times, Ben could be the rusting residue of Schwimmer's romantic Ross Geller, moved from NYC to the "first ring" suburb of a mid-sized U.S. city. A freshly fired bank loan officer, he's economically discarded, maritally numb and trying not to look like a deadbeat as he fumbles a financial website into existence. Mary, a paralegal and resentful breadwinner, tries vodka — a lot — for what ails her.
"We've got enough in the bank saved to give us, we think, a shot at configuring," explains Schwimmer, "but I think we're both highly aware that we've got about four months before things are really going to have to change in the way that we live.
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