Some people can go through an entire life with small troubles but avoid the huge catastrophe that all but makes you want to cash the whole thing in. These are lucky people.
Those who are slightly unlucky will face one of these cataclysmic events and will struggle to survive.
And then there are those whose only kind of luck is bad luck. They may face two, or even more, of these spine-chilling events during their lifetime.
"Dying City," which opened at Youngblood Theatre Thursday night, is about three of the last group. Three people who couldn’t get off the track as the grief train kept roaring down on them.
This is a play about memories, both the honest ones and those created out of whole cloth.
Christopher Shinn’s play was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and it’s easy to see why.
It’s the story of Kelly (Tess Cinpinski), a therapist and widow of Craig (Andrew Edwin Voss), who who was killed in Iraq. It’s also the story of Peter (also Voss), Craig’s identical twin, a gay Hollywood actor.
Craig has been dead for a year in what the army reported as a training accident.
The day of his funeral, Peter and Kelly bonded over a long, long talk and promised to stay in touch. But Kelly couldn’t face Peter and even ignored his presence in New York where he was doing a play.
The action begins when Peter surprisingly arrives at Kelly’s as she packs, preparing to move away.
The rest of the play alternates between the last night Craig and Kelly spend together before he leaves for Iraq, and the night that Peter comes to see Kelly.
It is an emotional play and a sad story of broken dreams, broken promises and broken spirits.
Voss sparkles in the dual roles of Craig and Peter. As he matures as an actor, his talent is catching up with his charisma.
Her has as much stage presence as anyone in town and is handsome beyond belief. In one 75 minute play he brings Peter’s longing and Craig’s uncertainty to life.
Cipinski, who along with Voss is one of the founders of Youngblood, is an absolute study of a woman who is certain of herself but equally uncertain about her life.
She is strong and weak, forceful and mousey, convincing and doubt-riddled all at once.
When she faces Peter in the final scene, finally coming to terms with the fact that her husband didn’t love her, it gets so quiet you could hear a pin drop. But that silence is soon shattered.
"He wanted to get away from me so he went to Iraq and shot his head off," she screams at Peter, as a series of truths finally overcome the fictions.
"Dying City," under the direction of Benjamin Wilson, is a tough play, with many layers and a subtext that demands exploration. Youngblood has developed a reputation for staging provocative productions and this one is no exception.
"Dying City" runs through Oct. 12, and information can be obtained at youngbloodtheatre.com.
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