This is Our Youth

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This Is Our Youth
Michael Cera (6840267202).jpg
Michael Cera in a March 2012 production staged at the Sydney Opera House
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Characters Dennis, Warren, Jessica
Date premiered October 26, 1996 (1996-10-26)
Place premiered Intar Theatre, New York City

This Is Our Youth is a play by American dramatist and screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1996 and on Broadway in 2014.

Production history[edit]

Originally produced by The New Group, the play opened Off-Broadway at the Intar Theatre on October 26, 1996 and closed on November 24, 1996 after 22 performances. Directed by Mark Brokaw, the cast featured Josh Hamilton as Dennis, Mark Ruffalo as Warren, and Missy Yager as Jessica.[1] It played Off-Broadway at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre in a Second Stage production, from November 3, 1998 to May 2, 1999, with the original cast, except for Mark Rosenthal as Dennis.[2] It transferred to the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre.

It played in the West End at the Garrick Theatre, from March 1 to April 20, 2002, produced by Phil Cameron for Background, Clare Lawrence and Anna Waterhouse for Out of the Blue (for and on behalf of Back to Blue Limited). The cast starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Hayden Christensen, and Anna Paquin.[3]

The Australian premiere was produced by Black Swan Theatre Company and Echelon Productions at The Store Room, Melbourne in 2002. It starred Ditch Davey, Tim Wright and Amanda Levy.

The play premiered on Broadway at the Cort Theatre in previews beginning August 18, 2014, officially on September 11, 2014 in a twenty-week run (through January 4, 2015). Directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the cast stars Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin, and Tavi Gevinson and is produced by Steppenwolf.[4][5] Prior to Broadway, this production ran at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Chicago, with the same director and cast, from June 10 to July 27, 2014.[6]

Plot[edit]

A portable television and comic books are props on the floor of a set from This Is Our Youth at Sydney Opera House

The play takes place in Dennis Ziegler's apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in March 1982. Dennis's friend Warren Straub, a dejected 19-year-old, has just been kicked out of his house and stolen $15,000 from his abusive lingerie-tycoon father. Dennis, the more wily and domineering of the two, spends some of the money on cocaine, hoping to sell it to a friend for much more. Jessica Goldman, an "anxiously insightful" fashion student, comes over and Warren hopes that he can use the money to entice her into bed.

The play explores timeless issues of adolescence and maturity, as well as the Reagan Era in which it is set: the characters feel adrift in 1980s-style materialism.

Cast history[edit]

The play has seen a number of productions featuring notable film actors, many of whom were in their first stage role.[citation needed] At the Garrick Theatre in the West End,[citation needed] it featured Hayden Christensen, Matt Damon, Colin Hanks, and Chris Klein as Dennis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Casey Affleck, Kieran Culkin, and Freddie Prinze Jr. as Warren, and Anna Paquin, Summer Phoenix, Alison Lohman, Heather Burns as Jessica.

Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin were in talks to stage a revival in New York during 2010.[7] They later headlined a run at the Sydney Opera House in March 2012.[8]

Original title[edit]

This Is Our Youth was originally titled Betrayal by Everyone when it premiered as a one-act in 1993 at the Met in a festival of short plays.[9]

Reception[edit]

Writing in The New York Times, critic Peter Marks called the play (in 1996) "a revealing and offbeat dissection of its world," adding, "It is not easy to find love and humor in the middle of nowhere. But with the skill of a first-rate creative team, even nowhere can be someplace special."[1] Reviewing the 1998 production two years later, Marks wrote, "'This Is Our Youth' is back, and not a moment too soon. In a season in which some of the wise men of the theater have been trying to force-feed insipid fare like 'Stupid Kids' and 'Footloose' to young audiences, it's sheer relief to celebrate the return of a rambunctious and witty play about wayward teen-agers and post-adolescents that doesn't turn youthful travails into plastic rap." Marks cited the play's "indelible impression," the playwright's "unfailing antennae," writing, "'This Is Our Youth'-- by turns caustic, cruel and compassionate -- is the real real world."[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Peter Marks, "Heading for Hopeless, but Not Gone Yet," The New York Times, October 31, 1996.
  2. ^ "This is Our Youth" Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed September 11, 2014.
  3. ^ " 'This Is Our Youth' to Play London with Paquin" playbill.com, January 28, 2002
  4. ^ "This is Our Youth: Overview". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Hetrick, Adam. " 'This Is Our Youth', With Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, Opens on Broadway Tonight" playbill.com, September 11, 2014
  6. ^ "Listing" steppenwolf.org, Accessed September 11, 2014
  7. ^ Capone, "Capone tangles with SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD star Michael Cera and director Edgar Wright!!!"
  8. ^ Cummings, Pip (25 February 2012). "Interview: Michael Cera". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "This Is Our Youth Study Guide - Introduction - Kenneth Lonergan". eNotes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  10. ^ Peter Marks, "Folkways of Spoiled, Dissolute West Side Teen-Agers," The New York Times, November 4, 1998.

External links[edit]