Jeff Smith 12:01 p.m., March 29
Christopher Shinn's sketchy, intriguing drama sorts through the rubble of three post-9/11 lives. Kelly's husband Craig died in Iraq a year before the play begins (a Blackhawk-down accident?). A therapist in need of same, Kelly huddles in a bomb-shelter-spare NYC apartment and watches reruns of Law and Order. The show's inexorable problem-solving consoles her. Enter Craig's identical twin unannounced. Peter's a gay actor and, it would seem, warrior-Craig's opposite. Seeing the living image of her late husband's the first shock, among many, Kelly will undergo this night. Dying City - a title with almost universal application these days - unfolds like an anti-Law and Order. Humpty Dumpty fell. The question becomes: when did the fissures start? The Iraq War? 9/11? Or back in the boys' and Kelly's abused childhoods? As Kelly and Peter sift through shards and cinders, the answer threatens further demolition. Cygnet Theatre does a capable job with a tricky, now-you-see-it, now-you-don't 90-minute play. Nick Fouch's revolving set and Eric Lotze's eerie, expressive lighting make Kelly's apartment look as if it's suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Jessica John's appropriately drab brown costumes complete the impression. Kelly's a tough assignment: how to play a character who's neutron bombed emotionally? Christy Yael has moments where she flattens Kelly out too much but for the most part succeeds as a woman cast adrift. Sean Cox plays both brothers and convinces as the tough Spec 4 Craig. Director Fran Gercke and Sean Cox have avoided giving Peter stereotypical gay gestures. But Cox needs to ratchet up his subtextual menace. The Baghdad Correctional Facility isn't the only place where torturers ply their trade.
Worth a try.
When: Ongoing until Sunday, October 26, 2008
- Sundays, 2pm & 7pm
- Wednesdays, 7:30pm
- Thursdays, 8pm
- Fridays, 8pm
- Saturdays, 8pm