The Brooklyn Lyceum began life in 1910 as Public Bath No. 7, which boasted the country’s largest indoor pool. After alterations, neglect, and a decade-long renovation, the Park Slope edifice has re-emerged as a cultural space. Yet it still has occasional problems with the waterworks. At least that’s the trouble afflicting Pete, the protagonist of David Kantounas’s Grief, now playing at the Lyceum as part of Ugly Rhino Originals.
Pete, you see, can’t bring himself to weep. While riding the bus home, he glimpses an article about an actress’s suicide and realizes he hasn’t “shed a tear in 14 years.” The script follows Pete as he confronts his girlfriend, his boss, the man who found the body, and the actress’s parents, all while he struggles to loose his own choked emotions.
Kantounas seems to intend the play as dark satire—a scene in which adman Pete uses suicide in a marketing campaign suggests this most clearly. Yet director Nicole Rosner muddles the tone, leaving some audience members listening raptly as if to a tragedy and others tittering as if at a farce. But productions are often messy at a first preview. Perhaps Grief will use the building’s history as inspiration and scrub itself up as the run continues.