BY Brandon Voss
March 29 2010 1:10 PM ET
Directed by Ethan Hawke on a junk-shop set resembling a T.G.I. Friday’s, the New Group’s mind-screwing revival of Sam Shepard’s award-winning 1986 play A Lie of the Mind sold out its brief run through March 20. If there were ever such a thing as theater for straight dudes, this dysfunctional backwoods family drama would be it, with its deer-hunting, abusive husbands, fraternal competition, blind patriotism, gunshot wounds, and sex fantasies — all scored live by art duo Gaines, brothers who transform found objects into sonic sculpture. Leading a cast that boasted Roseanne’s Laurie Metcalf and Mad Men’s Maggie Siff, Alessandro Nivola was menacingly sexy as a loose cannon worried he may have murdered his wife in a jealous rage. His scenes wearing only boxers, a bomber jacket, and boots were the highlight of my week.
I’m a big fan of Craig Wright, the creator of Dirty Sexy Money and an Emmy-nominated writer on Six Feet Under and Brothers & Sisters, but I don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote Blind, a stagnant retelling of the Oedipus myth that mercifully went out of sight March 21 at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. This pretentious drama didn’t feature an Oedipus-like character; it was Oedipus himself, whom we met as he — and the citizens of Thebes — are realizing that his wife, Jocasta, is actually his mom. Why Wright chose to modernize the costumes and sleek bedroom setting while keeping the names and speech patterns ancient, I’ll never know. Even wonderful actors Veanne Cox and Seth Numrich, who bared his soul (and more) as a troubled gay teen in last year’s Slipping, couldn’t keep me from wanting to gouge out my own eyes.
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