Reviewed by Judy Richter
April may have been the cruelest month to poet T.S. Eliot, but to two of the characters in John Guare's Bosoms and Neglect, it's August. That's when all the psychotherapists in New York go on vacation, according to this 1979 comedy being staged by Aurora Theatre Company. Feeling abandoned by their revered Dr. James, two psychoanalysis patients, Scooper (Cassidy Brown) and Deirdre (Beth Wilmurt), are left to their own devices.
A sizable portion of Act 1 is devoted to their initial rendezvous in Deirdre's apartment after encountering each other at a bookstore. Besides having the same analyst, they share a love of books, a passion that veers into the sexual. The fact that they're both neurotic leads them through a roller-coaster of emotions that lands them in the hospital by Act 2 (fight direction by Marty Pistone.
Further complicating Scooper's life is his 83-year-old, blind, somewhat demented mother, Henny (Joan Mankin). She opens and closes the play, first talking with the frazzled Scooper as he realizes she has been trying to treat her breast cancer with Kotex and a plastic statue of St. Jude. She has other ailments that send her into the hospital, too. She ends the play by relating an incident from Scooper's childhood that might explain some of his problems, but he has left her alone to tell her story.
Guare being Guare, author of the absurdist The House of Blue Leaves, the play is loaded with hilarious moments that all three actors carry off well, thanks to their own skills as well as Joy Carlin's sharp direction. They're also assisted by Fumiko Bielefeldt's costumes, J.B. Wilson's set, Jon Retsky's lighting and Chris Houston's sound. Mankin is especially memorable as Henny, the daft but still caring matriarch. Brown as the somewhat nerdy Scooper and Wilmurt as the attractive but mercurial Deirdre are well matched in this production.