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A CurtainUp DC Review
Tom Kamm's terrific set, along with Eric Pearson's video projections on to the houses exteriors of such pursuits as neighborly get-togethers, soccer with the kids and backyard barbecues, are excellent. You are there, for better or worse. Welcome to the "burbs."
The house with nice patio furniture and a well-kept yard is occupied by Mary (Emily K. Townley) and Ben (Tim Getman). She works in a law firm; he, well, he's lost his job in finance and says he's working from home, building a website. Opposite, in a house that seems abandoned as it's void of furniture with sheets hanging in place of drapes and a yard that is a mess, are Sharon (Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey) and Kenny (Danny Gavigan). They're fresh from rehab and wouldlike to have decent jobs but their skills are limited and so are their prospects.
The title,is metaphoric. It means decay, end of good jobs, steady incomes, affordable health care, but most of all, hope for the future. What playwright Lisa D'Amour is saying (repeatedly) is that the American Dream has gone up in smoke. And just in case you didn't get the point over the preceding hour and a half, Frank (Michael Willis), Kenny's erstwhile relative, ultimatelygives a long speech about the good old days in suburbia.
The perfect set is also illuminated well by Colin K. Bills. John Vreeke's direction is crisp and the actors deliver well-paced, convincing performances. But the play is tedious and riddled with cliches. For me, the fact that it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011 diminishes the stature of the Prize.
Here's a link to Curtainup's review of the New York production .