Emma and Max

Britney (Zonya Love) and Jay (Matt Servitto) sit on the bed debating her dismissal as Brooke (Ilana Becker) sleeps. Photo by Joan Marcus.

By Andrew Andrews

Max and Emma don’t like their mother Brooke (Ilana Becker) or father Jay (Matt Servitto).

After all, they’re simply too young to understand just how privileged they are, thanks to Mommy and Daddy.

They do love their nanny, Britney (Zonya Love). "She’s the best fixer of broken toys, the best finder of lost teddy bears, tells the best jokes, the best stories, sings the best lullabies...she’s the best hugger."

Britney has no children. She has no family. All Britney has is Max and Emma.

Until Jay and Brooke decide it’s best (for them) to let her go.

The story of Emma and Max is a story of jealousy. It’s playwright and director Todd Solondz’s expoloration of race, privilege, and marginalization, of the shallow end and of the deep end.

Brooke and Jay are shallow even when they’re trying to be deep. Britney is deep even when she’s trying to be shallow, having "learned you just have to accept things as they came, as horrible as they might be."

With the most elaborate, compartmentalized set we’ve probably seen off Broadway (Julia Noulin-Mérat), so appropriately manhandled by the nanny between scenes (even after she’s been dumped!), and creative use of video projections (Adam J. Thompson) and sound (Fabian Obispo), Solondz’s company calls out the hearts that superficially bleed with three powerful words:

"You wouldn’t understand."

So head on down to The Flea’s Sam Theater for Emma and Max, then come on back here and tell us what you thought.

Your reviews can help others decide whether Emma and Max deserves your attention, and your ratings help us help you find future live productions you’re sure to love!

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Andrew Andrews attended Emma and Max at Flea Theatre in New York on Thursday, October 11, 2018 @ 12:34pm to write this review.

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