The Boomerangers of Nantucket

Grace here. As usual, there are some intense conversations happening over here, and I wanted to loop you in on some of them and hear your thoughts. We’d love to hear your thoughts, either as a comment or on our new Community Response Page.

The reviews are in for Theater J’s new comedy The Moscows of Nantucket. and the responses have started a very intriguing debate about the increasingly evident ‘boomerang generation’ of young people returning to their parents homes.

The debate was prompted by the character of Ben Moscow, whom TBD’s Maura Judkis describes as “young man who is marginally employed and living with his parents.” In the same article, James Flanagan, the actor playing Ben, remarks, “For some people, the twenties have become extended teens and the thirties are the new twenties.”

In a DC TheatreScene Interview, Author Sam Forman says that the play’s depiction of a boomeranged adults stems from truth, sharing, “This play came from me looking at the lives of my friends, and thinking about whether they’ll end up where they want to end up.”   It may be that in the current generation, the gap between where we want to end up and where we actually do end up is getting wider.  Artistic Director Ari Roth remarks, “The play offers a challenging portrait of our downwardly mobile generation of young folks, floundering and aspiring…and the portraits are provocative — and dividing critics”

In his rave review, CityPaper’s Chris Klimek acknowledges that Ben is “eyeballing the abyss” but points out the bright side of the boomerang generation, noting, “Benjamin’s had the good fortune to hit bottom in a house owned by the people who love him most in the world. That’s a lucky thing, because family is priceless.”

Peter Marks of The Washington Post takes a different view, praising Forman as a “talented writer” but critical of Benjy’s immaturity in freeloading off his parents and mourning his lack of success, wondering, “whether America’s entitled children have been led to believe they’re more gifted and deserving of applause than is actually the case”.

Leslie Milk of The Washingtonian, who praises the play’s “rich comedic fodder” and “hilarious elan,” finds Flanagan “appealing” even while acknowledging that his boomeranged status and binge drinking ways render him “a loser at love and life.” And Variety Magazine takes a hard-line view of boomerangers, stating that a character like Ben, “in real life should have been forcefully booted from the nest,” even while admiring his “Simonesque” one-liners.

What do you think?  Are young adults trapped in an adulation-seeking adolescence?  Is this the age of entitlement, devoid of maturity and a sense of responsibility? Is Benjy a shlub and a failure, or an emblem of a generation victimized by recession and inflated expectations?

The Moscows of Nantucket doesn’t offer easy answers. But it does open up a pretty intriguing question. Whether the plight of a binge-drinking writer living in his parents basement touches your heart or turns your stomach, we want your responses! Use the code ‘DEBATE’ to save $20 so that you can check out the show, and keep the conversation going….