Friday, September 23, 2011

Dreams of Flying, Dreams of Falling *

What's Adam Rapp's new play about? About 90 minutes. That's all I can say with certainty about his absurdist comedy now in an Atlantic Theater Company production at CSC. The cast is led by two wonderful actors (Christine Lahti and Reed Birney). The set (by Andrew Boyce & Takeshi Kata) and costumes (by Theresa Squire) perfectly establish the gracious milieu of privileged Connecticut WASPs. Two families, the Cabots and their guests, the Von Stofenburgs, are about to sit down to dinner. Things soon spin out of control. Mrs. Cabot tries to persuade Von Stofenburg (Cotter Smith), whose reputation has been tarnished by a Madoff-like affair,  to poison her husband so they can run off together. The Cabot daughter (Katherine Waterston), who likes to pluck the hairs out of men's arms for an art project, maintains that there is a she lion in the basement. The Von Stofenburg son (Shane McRae), just returned from two years in a clinic after believing his stuffed animals when they told him he could fly, is in correspondence with a young Iraqi insurgent whom he is helping to acquire "materials." The two young adults have vigorous sex all around the dining room. The black maid (Quincy Tyler Bernstine), is learning French and likes to recite Shakespeare. Mrs. Von Stofenburg (Betsy Aidem) is so bland that her presence barely registers. Wild geese crash against the house, the sky turns strange colors, the murder plots goes awry.... and so forth. While some of the plot lines might have been interesting if developed more fully, here they just seem part of a mishmash. While there were some entertaining moments along the way, there was no sense of unity. Neil Pepe directed.

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