Article Title:'Dying City' reveals uncomfortable things
Author or Credit:Larrry Jenkins
Published on:12th February 2007 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:1585
Text:Edwin Wright in 'Dying City' Set in New York in 2005 and 2004, Christopher Shinn's one-acter is ostensibly an anti-war vehicle. (It is perhaps a measure of its potency that the American's play has not yet been produced, nor have any of Shinn's plays, in the USA.) I say “ostensibly” because it soon becomes apparent that the real war is intra-personal and it is gut-wrenchingly incendiary. It's a pity that Shinn chose to append the subtitle, because the audience really needs no clues to reach the point where the “war against terror” becomes merely a backdrop to something far more sinister on a personal level. As the identical twins Peter and Craig, Edwin Wright, whose admirable portrayal of the ignorant and bigoted but super-talented baseball pitcher in Silo's “Take Me Out” knocked me for a six last year (excuse the mixed metaphor), is fast establishing himself as a major talent in New Zealand drama. His ability to switch hit, pun intended, from the gay Peter to the late and very straight (but was he? did he have a thing for his gay twin?) Craig, is breathtaking. Technically the performances constitute what they so often call a “tour de force”, but beyond that there is an understanding of the motivation behind these characters that allows us behind the masks and into a realm where some pretty squirmily uncomfortable things seem to surface. The writing leaves us guessing and Wright respects that, never tipping the scale in either direction. You seem to know less at the end than at the beginning, which, with this piece, is what is intended. Dena Kennedy is, I can't say it another way, sensational in her portrayal of Craig's widow, Kelly. Peter, who appears unbidden and unwanted in her life after she's tried to hide from him following the funeral, is an emotional parasite and in many ways malicious. His constant confessions about his sex life and narcissistic allusions to his fame as an actor never rattle her. Her patient handling of his onslaught, taxing her every learned skill as a psychotherapist, ultimately crumbles with the revelation that Craig had been sleeping with other women and that Peter knew it; Kennedy's progression from a sympathetic and detached professional to a distraught, abandoned, and very human woman is beautiful and awful. It doesn't hurt that she is very beautiful herself, lithe and graceful but gradually disintegrating under Peter's calculated and relentless onslaught. Shane Bosher as director has really risen to the challenge of this stultifyingly complex work. It is full of nuance and the movement and body English of the characters is so crucial to our understanding of the situation, revealed partly in flash back. The simple yet sculptural set by John Verryt evokes both the dream world and the real, and Sean Lynch's lighting bridges the transition between the past and present expertly. Full marks to everyone involved in this latest Silo offering. You'll be poorer if you don't see it. Dying City - The War Lies Within, by Christopher Shinn Directed by Shane Bosher With Dena Kennedy and Edwin Wright Until 3 March, 2007 Monday and Tuesday at 7pm Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm bookings through TICKETMASTER: 09 970 9700 or Larrry Jenkins - 12th February 2007    
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