SKINTIGHT by Carol Kaufman Segal
Skintight is a fairly new play by Joshua Harman (Bad Jews, Significant Other) that made its debut Off-Broadway in 2017. It is playing in Los Angeles at the Geffen Playhouse to sold-out audiences and rave revues. The play has no plot as such, but still offers an interesting insight into its characters performed by a cast of outstanding actors.
Jodi Isaac (Idina Menzel), a successful attorney, arrives without notice at her father’s upscale home, seemingly to celebrate his 70th birthday. But to be honest, her true reason for her visit is to find some comfort from him. Immediately and hysterically, she begins to rant on and on about the fact that her husband has left her for a 24-year old woman.
As it turns out, Elliot (Harry Groener), is not about to placate his daughter. When her 20-year old son, Benjamin (Eli Gelb) shows up for his grandfather’s birthday celebration, they are both stunned to meet Trey (Will Brittain), also 20-years old, and a former porn actor who Elliott calls his “partner”. It is obvious that Trey already feels like part of the family and is every bit at home and at ease in Elliott’s lavish home.
Jodi is extremely annoyed by Trey and his stance. She tells him that she and Benjamin are planning a family weekend with Elliot to celebrate his birthday and that it would be a good idea for him to stay at his own place while they are there. Is she really oblivious to his and her father’s circumstances, or is she faking naivety? He lets her know in no uncertain terms that, as Elliot’s partner, he lives there - with him! Unfortunately, Jodi’s desire for some kind of familial tenderness will not be coming from her father.
Benjamin, unlike Jodi, is in a quandary about Trey who often walks around the house nearly nude On the one hand, he is as troubled by him as is his mother is while sharing some of his Grandfather’s feelings. He almost forgets that he is thinking about his Grandfather’s lover. It is no secret about the fact that Benjamin is gay as opposed to the circumstances Elliot lived through in his younger years. Though the play deals with serious situations, it is very much a comedy as well, with lots of funny lines and, for the most part, fast- paced. The heart of the play is about aging, youth, beauty, and relationships.
Daniel Aukin directs this phenomenal cast that also includes Kimberly Jurgen (Orsolya) and Jeff Skowron (Jeff), Elliot’s household staff. Idina Menzel, Will Brittain, and Eli Gelb are reprising their roles performed Off-Broadway. The beautiful stage design is by Lauren Helper, and costume designs are by China Lee.
Skintight plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 3 PM and 8 PM., and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM, through October 12, in the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Cont Ave., Los Angeles. For tickets call (310) 208-5454, go online at www.geffenplayhoouse.org, or go in person to the theater box office.