I attended the opening night of Manhattan Theater Club’s When We Were Young a couple of weeks ago. I had seen the word ‘feminist’ thrown around in writing about the plot of the show but didn’t really know what to expect.
Cherry Jones plays a woman (Agnes) who runs a home for women who are domestically abused and looked to escape their husbands. Agnes also has a daughter of her own, Hannah (Cherise Boothe), the feminist of the house who wants to go to an Ivy League school and has no time for boys. Mary Anne (played by Zoe Kazan) arrives at their doorstep and while she’s staying with them, she coaches Hannah on how to get her dream guy to ask her to the prom, among other things, and this totally changes Hannah, for better or for worse, who knows.
When We Were Young is much deeper and thought-provoking than I’m making it seem, but it’s also a very heavy. You definitely need to take a moment to remember to breath during intermission.
Cherry Jones is, of course, spectacular. Boothe and Kazan are both enjoyable to watch and believable. Patch Darragh and Morgan Saylor play two supporting roles as well and help keep the play moving and exciting.
This is a fine production at MTC and Jones’ gives a performance not to be missed.
(Full disclosure: The company I work for works on this show, but the opinions are all my own.)