Truth and Consequences in "Lobby Hero"


Kenneth Lonergan’s 2001 play “Lobby Hero,” which makes its Broadway debut this week, is not really a play about politics, even though it touches on stuff like race, misogyny and shady internal police dynamics. It’s not an issues play in the social sense, more an issues play in the people sense and all the things they’re grappling with, big and small, in their personal and professional lives. There’s nothing ripped-from-the-headlines about it – even the critical police scrutiny – but there’s something about the characters and their choices that feels of-the-moment. Two security guards (Michael Cera as slacker, Brian Tyree Henry as boss) and two police officers (Chris Evans as hotshot, Bel Powley as newbie) cross paths in a nondescript apartment as they negotiate power dynamics and individual moral codes. (It’s two and a half hours, but there’s an even better 100-minute, one act version in there.) What feels current about it is the tension between righteousness and action: What we say we believe and what we actually do; loyalty versus opportunity; the standards we hold for others while making exceptions for ourselves. Anybody outraged about politics today, on either end, might ask themselves whether what they condemn and condone is always consistent. “Lobby Hero” is about how we find convenient ways to justify our contradictions, or often don’t even notice them at all.