DISTURBINGLY HONEST “DYING CITY” IN HARTFORD

By Bonnie Goldberg

    “Dying City,”  a new drama , was named one of the Top Ten Plays of 2007 by The New York Times and nominated for a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was written by Chris Shinn, a Connecticut native who is a big hit on the London stage. Until Sunday, February 8, it will be making its regional theatre debut at the Hartford Stage.

    “Dying City” is basically a play around a triangle of lives that are tangled and twisted and headed for dissolution rather than resolution.  Identical twins Craig and Peter, both brought to fruition by Ryan King, are totally different in temperament and sexual orientation.  The story opens one year and one week after Craig’s funeral and then flashes back and forward from the present to the past looking for answers.

    Diane Davis plays Kelly, Craig’s wife, who is still dealing with the loss of her spouse and is clearly not able to function.  Peter suddenly appears on her doorstep and forces questions and issues to be explored that neither are ready to accept.

    Peter is a self-absorbed actor who has just that evening walked off the stage in the middle of a performance of Eugene O’Neill’s intense family confrontation “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” A chance remark by the play’s leading man, who plays his father, has sent him off to Kelly’s apartment, a woman he hasn’t seen or spoken to since his brother’s untimely death.

    Together they probe and poke the caverns between them.  What happened to Craig while he was serving in the war in Iraq that led to his death?  Why can’t Peter be faithful to any of his male partners?  What has transpired that caused Kelly to gave up trying to heal her therapy patients? Maxwell Williams directs this disturbingly honest psychological exploration.  

    For tickets ($23-66), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday,  Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Sunday and selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

    Help Peter and Kelly find answers to the questions swirling around Craig and haunting both their lives.

Review will appear in the Middletown Press on 1/22/09.

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