End of life crises have seldom seemed so endless as they do in Lily Thorne’s drama “Peace for Mary Frances,” which opened Wednesday in a New Group production at Off Broadway’s Signature Theatre.

The show follows the final days — weeks actually — of a cantankerous Connecticut suburbanite named Mary Frances, played with feisty vigor by the inimitable Lois Smith. She’s the sort of woman who cuts one child out of her will and tells another, “I loved you best.”

Her three grown children, most estranged from each other, descend on the family home to bicker over mom’s medical care and her money and all the ways that they have wronged each other over the years. Mostly those last two.

Thorne has a fine ear for dialogue, deeply attuned to the way family members can nurse resentments and pick at each other’s scabs to deflect from any self-reflection. But she also weighs down her drama with a lot of circuitous plotting and didactic exposition about the nature of hospice care, introducing social workers and a home health aide who do little for the narrative but to test the audience’s patience.

Read the full review at TheWrap.

 

Advertisements