Annapurna is a mountain range in the Himalayas. And in the new production of the play Annapurna at The New Group, Annapurna is a tale of mountains that are climbed in marriages and the damage that occurs when one of the climbers falls.
In this two character play, real-life married couple Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally play exes who haven’t seen each other in 20 years. Offerman’s character Ulysses (an interesting name choice for this man) lives in a trailer that looks like something out of an episode of Hoarders. Mullally’s Emma comes for a visit out of the blue – bearing enough luggage to make it seem like she’s checking in for the long haul.
Why the 20-year absence? Why is Emma visiting now all of a sudden? Why does Ulysses live the way he lives? The play unfolds with the answers to these questions – some of them speaking of the ties that bind in a marriage even as the marriage unravels and some of them a bit obvious as the play goes on.
For audience members who only know Offerman and Mullally in their comic roles on television, this play proves that they are more than capable of carrying a drama. They are very believable as people who are by turns bitterly angry at one another and genuinely caring. One could quibble with some of the plot points, but I felt that the actors did not hit any false notes.
At the end, Ulysses begins to recite the epic poem (also entitled Annapurna) that he’s been writing about Emma. The poem leads you to understand the great love this couple had for one another and makes you feel sorrow for all that unfolds. AFW
Annapurna – through June 1
Tickets $70 (some discounts available) and tickets have been available at TKTS
The New Group – 410 W 42 Street