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re: Who is Eric Glass? (SPOILERS)
Last Edit: Delvino 07:08 am EST 12/05/19
Posted by: Delvino 06:59 am EST 12/05/19
In reply to: Who is Eric Glass? (SPOILERS) - mikem 10:51 pm EST 12/04/19

I asked one of your questions in a big way when I read the play in September. The leap into Henry Wilcox's life on the page simply felt like the playwright moving chess pieces, or holding to the Forster plot paradigm, presuming audiences will make the connection easily and buy it wholesale.

In part one, we only get to the dating, but I found myself accepting Eric's behavior at face value. Soller plays the break-up with Toby and the loss of his home as severe, life-altering blows, albeit the blows of youth. Toby keeps making the same point to anyone who will listen, in effect, "you think you've had it bad? You don't know from bad." And Eric almost guiltily struggles to find the footing of a grown-up man, moving from sybaritic boy-man to adulthood. I am not excusing Lopez for the lapses noted in this thread, only saying: I've known Erics, and have met them all my life, but particularly in my own early years in Manhattan. I can speak to that unfinished green-ness in a particular young man who cannot carve a niche for himself in a city that runs on competitive niches. Toby ascends in distinctive, uniquely New York terms -- the intersection of art and commerce -- as he spits at Eric during the cruel break-up, and Eric is left feeling bereft of comparable achievement and status. Stoller plays the breakup scene with such pain, the wind knocked out of him, that I recognized that feeling of loss and abandonment. Henry, in the powerful presence of Hickey, feels like the mooring Eric lacks. Eric is desperate not only to only connect but to find stability. The date with Henry when they travel to Brooklyn and Peter Luger's is charming, but we see it through the eyes of this -- again -- unformed Eric, so eager to have someone to hold onto. Henry's offers -- in part one, only to come to Paris -- validate the invalidated Eric in profound ways. The physical difference between Soller and Hickey -- age, size, presence -- helps make the case. Henry offers a protective umbrella that class, money, privilege bring. Losing a childhood home (I've had that happen) and people that matter (ditto) can make a young man vulnerable to a cascade of inappropriate decisions. Soller make the Lopez case for me, and I had a kind of deja vu for my own early years in NYC, watching him turn to such an appealing offer. We can see the mistake in it as it begins to happen. But I understood it.

I also think Lopez helps stack the deck, making Toby so high maintenance, so erratically and selfishly narcissistic, i.e., an asshole. Eric, like so many of us, finds difficult people attractive. Henry is proven to be almost on the Asperger's scale in emotional disconnect. But it's papered over with high achievement and control. That's attractive to Eric, and I get it.
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