Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gruesome Playground Injuries *

As I had very much enjoyed Rajiv Joseph's Animals out of Paper a few years back, I was very much looking forward to his latest play now at Second Stage in a production starring Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter directed by Scott Ellis. Alas, lightning did not strike twice for me. This tale of accident-prone Doug and troubled Kayleen from ages 8 to 38 failed to grab my interest despite fine acting, good direction and a clever minimalist set by Neel Patel. The several scenes, presented out of chronological order, each present the characters in the wake of some personal injury. The tone drifts between comedy and drama. As adults, they only meet about once every five years. What happened during the gaps between visits is left for us to imagine, which leaves the characters' motivation insufficiently clear. I found the experience frustrating and have decided to pass on Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, soon to be on Broadway with Robin Williams.

The running time is 80 minutes without intermission.

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