Steven Levenson’s Days of Rage is more satire than a play about rage. Flashback to 1969. Nixon was in The White House and a war was raging in Vietnam. Three 20-somethings – two middle-class college dropouts, the third from a working class family – share a seedy house in an upstate New York college town. They read Marx, Lenin and Engels and are trying to plot a revolution. This superficial ‘collective’ works for them but they’re running out of cash and manpower is needed to help continue their protest.
While canvassing for support, one woman from the group attempts to recruit Hal, an African American boy who is more interested in dating her than marching with her. Another member recruits Peggy, an odd runaway, looking for a place to crash. He invites Peggy to temporarily join their group only because she has money to pay their rent and expenses. These two new recruits destabilize this group’s already fragile existence. Peggy proceeds to pit one against the other and terrorizes them through paranoia. Hal, the only true adult in the room, questions the validity of their ideals.
The 2nd Stage Theater has been successful in attracting a new and younger theater audience and Days of Rage is targeted toward them. It pokes fun at the 60’s radicals who have become today’s liberal Democrats (probably many of this audience’s parents) and there are a lot of funny lines. But if Mr. Levenson was attempting to create a political satire comparing the radicalism and discontent of the 60’s to our current days of rage, the message got obscured by numerous subplots. Thankfully, the talented cast under Trip Cullman’s direction helped make a mediocre play quite enjoyable. LAR
Tony Kiser Theater at Second Stage Theater, 35 W 43rd St.
Ticket prices: $30-$79
Discounts: $30 for under 30, BroadwayBox,
Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission
Runs thru: November 25, 2018
2 ½ stars, ½ bag