Sixty Miles to Silver Lake Physically and Narratively Trapped

Like most scripts set in automobiles, Dan LeFranc's Sixty Miles to Silver Lake can hardly breathe—and doesn't feel much like a play. Physically and narratively trapped in an SUV, divorced father Ky and his son, Denny, seem eternally condemned to relive their many tense drives between soccer practice and their weekends together. LeFranc's canny ear for L.A.-speak makes these characters convincingly shallow and grating. Smarmy, racist womanizer Ky trashes his ex-wife and offers the kid his porn passwords; the spoiled, petulant Denny fidgets, pouts, and overuses "gay" as a pejorative. The play, directed by Anne Kauffman, cries out for insight or perspective—could this be an allegory for the Bush years? Will they crash and learn to appreciate life?

But LeFranc shuns profundity. In lieu of a revelation, three-quarters of the way through the piece simply loses its mind, exploding into an absurd mishmash of tics and taglines from the previous dialogue and closing with an image out of Shepard or Rapp. This is amusing—especially as the high point of Joseph Adams's Shatner-esque performance as Ky—but it comes off as an evasion rather than an aesthetic, and guzzles any gas the play has left.

 
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