Friday, March 02, 2007

Dying City

Christopher Shinn's plays are adult and subtle, and they kick big ideas around the landscape of the highly personal. In this two-hander, we watch a young therapist both on the night of her husband's departure for armed service in the Iraqi War (where he dies), and on the night about a year later when she is visited by his identical twin brother. The play builds slowly by inches - at first the dramatic movement is almost as hard to see with the naked eye as this production's single clockwise turn of the revolving set - and for a while the story is more interesting than engaging. But the play rewards the patience it demands: slowly the pieces begin to fall into place and we intuit Shinn's quietly devastating connections between personal and political conviction. Rebecca Brooksher is never less than immediate and believable as the therapist; Pablo Schreiber's performances as both husband and twin are layered and convincing. Although I wanted to feel more than I did before the final scenes, (I suspect that the blame goes to this production's staging on the revolving set, which prohibits a consistently intimate view of both acters' expressions from anywhere in the theatre), I left with plenty of admiration for Shinn's play and with plenty to think about.

Also blogged by: [David] [Aaron]

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