Last Call

In the midst of William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life (Chain Lightning Theatre), McCarthy, an intellectual longshoreman, offers his critique of a would-be comedian's dance. "It's awful," he proclaims, "but it's honest and ambitious." Much the same might be said of Saroyan's plodding opus, which won the Pulitzer prize in 1940. A three-hour tangle of treacly realism and devastating earnestness, the play concerns the 20-some characters who flit in and out of a San Francisco saloon one October day in '39. Chain Lightning's actors portray a predictable parade of pub denizens: the sympathetic bartender, the holy fool, the gold-hearted lady of questionable virtue, etc., each called upon to meander through a morass of confessional monologues and forced revelations. It's sincere as all get-out, but stultifying. Though capably acted and adequately directed, the listless plot makes The Time of Your Life last a seeming eternity.

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