photo: Joan Marcus
There's tinkly tasteful piano music in the interminable interludes during scene changes, as either Joan Allen or Jeremy Irons mopes around a desk looking thoughtful: is Jack O'Brien's directorial strategy to put the audience to sleep? The play, cut during previews to an eighty-minute one-act, could be cut even further to its final two scenes since it isn't until those that the play has dramatic interest. The two stars seem listless as art dealers who reveal themselves to each other by talking about the works hung in their gallery: their performances are thoughtful, naturalistic, scaled for intimacy, and as fatally unsurprising as the play. Andre de Shields does best of those in the (overqualified) supporting cast as a kindly stooped-over shopkeep who comes in at the eleventh hour with more plain-spoken, no-nonsense insight into one of the paintings than either of the smartypants in the room. It's a groanworthy role with a cheap purpose, but we care more about him in five minutes than we do about the art dealers all night.