Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sister Cities

photo: Gili Getz

It's no longer a surprise that the productions at T. Schreiber Studio are marked by intelligent staging, committed acting, and sharp direction; I think I've lost count of how many classic plays I've seen impressively staged in their intimate black box space. This is the first time I've seen them present a New York premiere, and although I found the play (by Colette Freedman) to be disappointingly plotted (there's at least one contrivance too many, the second act isn't nearly as tight as the first, and it too patly resolves the play's most interesting conflict) it's hard to imagine that it could have been given a more thoughtful and entertaining production than this one. The story - of four half-sisters who reunite at their childhood home on the ocassion of their mothers' apparent suicide - is most successful as a naturalistic slice-of-life sibling relationship drama; the playwright is on solid ground writing conversations that unfold naturally, believably. Director Cat Parker, set designer George Allison, and virtually everyone in the cast of five (especially Ellen Reilly, whose wound-tight character most drives the play's action) should be commended for very fine, detailed work.

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