Micro-Review #108: This Is Our Youth

by Kenneth Lonergan

On first glance, this is a play about rich kids who refuse to grow up. On closer inspection, it’s a moving and shrewdly humorous tale about two friends in 1980s New York who are terrified of life and loss in the big, cold world. Dennis and Warren are aimless uptown kids who are into dope, sex and avoidance. They guard their youth jealously, but the clock of adulthood ticks. Long-avoided bills must soon be paid.

The date with responsibility arrives in the form of a woman who is equally as lost. This isn’t a triangle so much as three bad swimmers flailing about in weedy waters. The drifters know there’s more than monied ennui going on; they do suspect they might be their own worst enemies. Whether they’re equipped for a journey to self-awareness isn’t certain, but they have our sympathy. Because their struggles are our struggles—people fighting to get through life without a roadmap—only cynical readers won’t want them to make it.

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