Thursday, March 08, 2007

Side Effects May Include...

"Dying City" at the Mitzi Newhouse Theatre, Lincoln Center, March 6, 2007

Craig died in Iraq. Gay twin brother, Peter, has just dropped in on Kelly, the widow. Angst, pain, miscommunication (or lack thereof) ensues and precedes the rest of the evening.

Christopher Shinn has created an interesting premise for his play about learning how to move on after devastating moments in our lives. Interesting dramatically in his construction to have the same actor play twins with action and exposition in flashbacks.

Pablo Schreiber (I hadn't realized that he is Liev's brother until now) takes on the dual roles. He's buffed up quite a bit, which works for both roles. His Craig, the soldier, is quite believable as an over-protective bear of a man with a quick temper. His Peter, however, falls more into the category of stereotype. Even though Peter is gay, he's become a successful actor both on stage and in film. It seemed a little much to me for Peter to be such a sissy. I think the writing may have pushed Mr. Schrieber to his choices. Peter is continually apologizing, for showing up unannounced, for wanting to maintain a relationship with Kelly, for wanting to talk about Craig, for everything it seems.

As Kelly, Rebecca Brooksher comes across as Calista Flockhart with a Jennifer Grey nose-job - blandly pretty but with a voice that is so familiar. I had heard (or read) someone else make a similar observation, but it didn't really strike me until she was speaking with her back to me. Ms. Brooksher pouts and cries, but never quite matches Mr. Schrieber's intensity.

Anthony Ward's rotating set makes a nice-sized 1BR with minimal furnishings. Pat Collins' lighting does well to help establish whether the scene is present or previous without being intrusive.

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