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Feb 26 2024
Artists Disappear To Disturb The Peace: A Review Of THE SEVEN YEAR DISAPPEAR Comments (0)

Cynthia-nixon-boyculture(Image via The New Group)

In Jordan Seavey's The Seven Year Disappear — opening tonight at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre (480 W. 42nd St., NYC) — Cynthia Nixon is narcissistic performance artist Miriam ... and so much, or so many, more.

Along with playing the fictional artist, who spends her time railing enviously against rival Marina Abramovic and plotting ways to create art that will knock their socks off and last, she plays all of the other characters in her son's life. In this way, sweetly fucked-up Naphtali (Taylor Trensch) winds up in bed with his own mother, forges shaky friendships with his own mother, speaks with fans of his mom who are, again, his own mother.

In this way, the suffocating nature of being born to an undeniable talent with a undeniable ego is perfectly communicated.

The plot is driven by Miriam's emotional unavailability, illustrated by her decision to vanish for seven years as part of an artistic statement, and by Naphtali's earnest seeking of approval, affection and a reason to go on living.

The play is darkly funny — a sex scene between Naphtali and an Episcopalian bishop (Nixon, of course) is a hysterical highlight — and wittily staged, making use of a multimedia approach that echoes Miriam's pretentious world. (It mostly works, and looks chic as hell.)

Nixon's performance falls just short of being a tour de force. She is mesmerizing as Miriam and slips with ease into several other characters. I never knew I would live to see Cynthia Nixon get her cock sucked, or discuss the finer points of meth or quiz a blind date as to whether he's a top or a bottom, but all of these scenarios work well.

Still, a couple of the male characters she inhabited felt like Cynthia Nixon in imaginary drag.

Trensch oozes sensitivity, leading to a powerful conclusion to a consistently provocative night of theater that will especially please jaded New Yorkers familiar with the likes of Cindy Sherman and Karen Finley and yes, even Madonna.

The Seven Year Disappear, directed by Scott Elliott, runs through March 31. Get tickets here.