Theater archives

Last Call


In the midst of William
Saroyan’s The Time of Your
(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.