Lincoln Center - Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, W. The stage moves. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center under the astute direction of James Macdonald, is propelled by sly and disorienting shifts of perspective. Not that this play needs it to make your head spin. Anyone who doubts that Mr.
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Lincoln Center - Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, W. The stage moves. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center under the astute direction of James Macdonald, is propelled by sly and disorienting shifts of perspective. Not that this play needs it to make your head spin. Anyone who doubts that Mr. A three-character drama performed by a bracing cast of two, Rebecca Brooksher and Pablo Schreiber, this deceptively spare work turns passive aggression into a theatrical dynamic.
Schreiber , who shows up one July night — as unbidden and unwelcome as a bad dream — at the New York City apartment of Kelly Ms. Brooksher , the widow of his brother, Craig, a Harvard graduate student who was killed a year earlier during military duty in Iraq.
Craig and Peter were identical twins, and when Craig materializes in flashbacks, Mr. Schreiber plays him too. This kind of hokey structural gimmick can turn a promising play into a 3-D drawing board. But anyone who has followed the career of Mr. Shinn, who is in his early 30s, knows that he uses tidy dramatic formulas the better to frame the defiant messiness of human lives.
He hooks you with tantalizing exposition — and the lure of a wham-bang solution — and then leaves you alone with your racing mind in a forest of ambiguities. These are not, finally, topical questions, though headline events like Abu Ghraib and the fall of the World Trade Center figure as backdrops.
Shinn is less interested in violence as an external force, which acts upon his characters, than as a means of illuminating what is already inside them. The academic, literary Craig, for example, turns out to be a man who was meant to be a soldier — for the all the wrong reasons.
Why does the apartment look so bleak and uninhabited? How exactly did Craig die? Most intriguing, though, is the awkward, defensive self-consciousness of Kelly and Peter as they perform the false, shuffling dance of making nice and catching up. Few young dramatists are better than Mr. Shinn at writing clumsy naturalistic dialogue crippled by the weight of the unspoken. But he is absolutely terrific as Peter, a human stealth bomber who disarms with friendliness, then hits his target before you can blink.
Brooksher, a graduate of Juilliard, may well be the discovery of the season. Kelly is a natural victim, though Mr. Shinn allows her the spark of hope of finally having realized this.
Shinn had limited his cast of onstage characters to Kelly and Peter and let Craig emerge by inference. And it knows too well that closure, that ghastly word, is a mass-delusional figment of the American imagination. Shinn knows that nothing about a death — or a life, for that matter — is that easy. At the Mitzi E. Through April 2. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
When one man goes to war he leaves the city, his wife and brother. A year later only the wife and brother remain. Cast: 1 woman, 1 man What people say: " Shinn is among the most provocative and probing of American playwrights today need only experience the creepy, sophisticated welding of form and content that is Dying City. Anyone who has followed the career of Mr. Shinn, who is in his early thirties, knows that he uses tidy dramatic formulas the better to frame the defiant messiness of human lives.
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