Friday, June 16, 2006

Cagelove

Christopher Denham and Adam Rapp, the star and playwright, respectively, of Red Light Winter, have another less-publicized collaboration up Seventh Avenue a few blocks at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. After getting an extension, Cagelove, which Denham wrote and Rapp directed, will end up closing the same day as the other play: June 25. I have to give the latter show, which I saw last night, a fair amount of credit for creating a palpable mood of suspense that's not always easy to create in the theater. The action, featuring a couple engaged to be married and the fiancee's sister, traces the aftermath of a rape suffered by the fiancee and its effects on the three characters. The play definitely has its gripping moments, where I was afraid of what was about to happen next. The problem is the final scene does not deliver the kind of revelation or catharsis that I'd been hoping for following all the buildup. The other issue was the scattering of moments throughout the play when I seriously doubted the couple's love for each other, not just in terms of how the events were putting pressure on their relationship, but doubting they ever loved each other to begin with. And in order for the play to really work, I felt like you needed to believe that they still wanted to make their relationship work. Even without the rapist ever actually appearing, the final scene manages to ruin the great off-stage/on-stage tension that had been working considerably well up to that point.

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