Theater: “Seven Years Disappear” with Cynthia Nixon
One thing I’ll say for Cynthia Nixon: she isn’t afraid of controversy—whether it was primarying Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2018, or marrying a woman after spending 15 years with a man. So it seems only fitting that she should appear in a play as curious but ultimately rewarding as Jordan Seavey’s “Seven Years Disappeared” (New Group).
The story begins in New York City circa 2009, where Miriam (Nixon), a performance artist of the Marina Abramovic variety (iykyk) is seeking inspiration for a breakout work. Her son and agent Naftali (Taylor Trentsch) has a surprise for her: she’s been commissioned to produce a work at MOMA.
On the night the two of them were to announce the project before the museum donors, Miriam is a no-show. In fact, she disappears for the next seven years.
The play then dramatizes, in no strict
chronological order, the events of Naftali’s years without Miriam. We see his growing disaffection from the art world and attraction to politics; his on-and-off relationship with Wolfgang, who was his mother’s occasional bisexual lover; and his hookups with various gay men. All of these parts are played by Cynthia Nixon.
When Miriam returns after seven years, just after Trump’s election in 2016, she explains what she’s been up to and what her next project will be all about. Yikes.
The play contains a good deal of esoteric, Manhattan-art-scene references—you may giggle at how the characters freely drop names like Zwirner Gallery and Art Basel or you may just roll your eyes. But at its heart, “Seven Years” illustrates the extent to which a New York City performance artist will turn to create a work that stands out from the expected.
Most of all, “Seven Years Disappear” showcases Cynthia Nixon’s spectacular versatility as an actress. She’s come a long way since playing Miranda on “Sex and the City”—and that’s not a bad thing at all.
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