I am so proud to be presenting the New York premiere Lisa Loomer's fantastic play, Distracted. When it comes to new plays, I am always looking for a piece with true ambition, the kind of piece that raises questions that will stay with you long after the play has ended. What I find to be especially dazzling about Distracted is that it gets you talking about a topic that so many of us encounter in our everyday lives but, ironically, never take the time to address – Attention Deficit Disorder. More and more parents are finding themselves faced with children who have been diagnosed with ADD, and the question of how to treat them has no easy answers. In Lisa’s play, we watch the character of “Mama” try to make her way through the maze of doing right by her son in funny, frustrating, sad, and all-too-familiar ways. When the facts are anything but black and white, how can you know if you’re making the right decision?
What’s particularly unique about Distracted is that the play itself seems to have ADD in its DNA. Lisa plays on the fact that our children are far from being the only ones who lack focus. In a wired society in which driving, listening to music, and talking on the phone at the same time would hardly qualify as multitasking, are we ever giving any one task the attention it deserves? Mark Brokaw ( Suddenly Last Summer, The Constant Wife), who I am so happy to have back at Roundabout directing this play, has explained this situation as a battle to allow yourself simply to be present. On our computer screens, we are able to jump from one page to another, minimizing the topics that we don’t want to face at the moment, but we forget how quickly things can collect and build up. How do we set it all aside?
I’m so pleased that the great Cynthia Nixon (who last appeared on our stage in The Women) is returning to the Roundabout for this play in the role of “Mama.” In addition to being one the great stage actresses of her generation, Cynthia, a mother herself, also has an innate empathy that I think will be a huge asset in this role. I know that she and the rest of the talented cast and designers will do great work in bringing this play to life.
I hope that you will be engaged by the questions asked by this play and that you will fall for these characters as I did.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!
2008-2009 Season, Distracted