Five stories, ten characters and one hotel room – that is The Wayside Motor Inn in a nutshell. The play, written by noted playwright A.R. Gurney, is set in the late 1970s outside Boston. But all the action in this play takes place in the one room – a motel with chenille bedcovers, no bellhops and a coffee shop for room service.
The interesting concept of this play is that all the characters and stories unfold around one another. So we have the young couple bickering about whether or not they’re going to have sex at the same time as an older couple in their twilight years has just stopped bickering over the husband’s heart condition. There’s the proverbial traveling salesman trying to have his way with the waitress from the coffee shop right after the separated couple tear apart family albums. And there’s the father and son who are there to visit Harvard – which is the father’s dream and the son’s nightmare.
The acting in the play was good but some of the plots, from today’s vantage point, seem dated – the elderly wife doesn’t know how to dial out on the hotel phone and the waitress was a former hippie who was still trying to save the world. I didn’t think this was one of Gurney’s strongest works but I did like watching how the actors worked with all the other characters on the stage – it was very well “choreographed.” AFW
Signature Theater, 480 West 42 Street
Runs 2 hours with one intermission
Runs through 9/28
Tickets $25 through 9/21, the $55 until the play closes. www.signaturetheater.org
We recommend this play at the $25 price.