Saturday, April 13, 2019

Play a Day: Hold Steady

Tira Palmquist
For Saturday I read Hold Steady by Tira Palmquist and available at New Play Exchange.
“How did our parents do it?”

“They didn’t think about it, probably.”
The Big Chill is an iconic film about white privilege, about a cohort of Baby Boomer age people in their mid-thirties, folks who attended university in the late 1960s with all of the historic baggage that brought with it, monied liberals who, at the dawn of the 1980s were troubled by their own success, how they had traded their ideals for a very comfortable lifestyle.

Unfortunately, many Boomer aged audiences took this film as validation for their own having sold out, and found it not ironic at all to purchase the soundtrack, a greatest hits of the Motown era, to make it a number one album and even spawn a second soundtrack of songs by African American R&B artists from the “Big Chill era” (as it was marketed) when there is not one single person of color in the entire movie.

Palmquist’s play, Hold Steady, concerns a Millennial friend group, a modern, diverse collection of sympathetic characters … well, except for Quinn. What is it with people whose names begin with Q?

As our heroes gather for a ten year high school reunion, they share their worries and concerns about relationship and career goals, but as with so many of us it all revolves around money. What you can do, what you can’t do, what you hope to do, what you can reasonably settle to do.

I mean, there is a literal fight over fifty bucks. That scene is amazing.

Many of my friends and colleagues are Millennials, and believe me, they don’t spend their all time eating avocado toast and none of them attended the Fyre Festival. And Palmquist has created a fascinating and vivid weekend gathering, ripe with real world dialogue and situations reminiscent of the people I know.

Who should I read tomorrow?

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