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Relatively Speaking...Revealed? Digging for Dirt on New Works by Woody Allen, Ethan Coen & Elaine May

Relatively Speaking...Revealed?  Digging for Dirt on New Works by Woody Allen, Ethan Coen & Elaine May
Woody Allen, Ethan Coen & Elaine May
What is 'Relatively Speaking' all about, anyway?

When three award-winning writers like Ethan Coen, Woody Allen and Elaine May are all attached to a single project, as they are on Broadway’s upcoming Relatively Speaking, the questions certainly come fast and furious: What’s this show all about? The evening consists of one-act comedies from each writer. But the show’s new commercial sheds little light on the issue, and at a recent press event the cast—not to mention director John Turturro—was awfully tight-lipped about the subject matter.

“I can’t! What if I get fired?!” said Ari Graynor, who appears in Allen’s one-act, Honeymoon Motel, when went trolling for plot information. “What I can tell you is that they are three very separate, very different plays. And there’s some family stuff. And they’re all hilarious.”

Marlo Thomas, who stars in May’s piece, George Is Dead, was equally circumspect. “The only thing I can say is that I play George’s widow,” she said with a laugh. “That’s all you get!” Thomas went on to shed at least a little light on the information rationing. “We want people to really enjoy it, and some of the fun is the things that get revealed,” she explained.

Danny Hoch, who appears in the plays by Coen and Allen, seemed more willing to share. Or so we thought. “Relatively Speaking is an evening about family and its dysfunction,” he began. “In Woody Allen’s play [Honeymoon Motel], there is a wedding. I have nothing to do with the wedding,” he teased, “but I’ll tell you one thing that no one else has told you about that play: I deliver things.” OK, fine. What about Coen’s play, Talking Cure? “What I can tell you is that in Ethan Coen’s play, I’m playing someone in the medical world. Not a doctor though,” he said, all faux-earnestness. “If I tell you any more about it, because it’s an Ethan Coen play, I’d have to kill you in a very dark and funny way.”

First-time Broadway director Turturro offered a rehearsal-related explanation for his cast’s secretive behavior. “They don’t know what all the plays are about yet,” he said. “They’ve read them all, but that’s it. The only theme is that they are about family dynamics and dysfunction, zaniness...sexual appetite.” Consider our curiosity piqued! We’ll be staying tuned for Relatively Speaking, which begins performances on September 20 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.

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