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Review: Moore's 'Collapse' is a trenchant comedy

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm •  Published: April 17, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The American Dream is definitely battered, if not broken, according to some playwrights.

The mission of Women's Project Theater's 35th anniversary season, according to producing artistic director Julie Crosby, is to question the state of the American dream. They did so successfully with "Bethany" and "Jackie," and now comes "Collapse," playwright Allison Moore's trenchant comedy set in the beginning of the 2009 global economic collapse.

A sensitive, touching and very funny production opened Tuesday night at New York City Center Stage II. Jackson Gay directs an excellent cast, carefully balancing serious moments and exuberantly comedic scenes.

Moore has successfully integrated comedy with topical issues as her four middle-class Minnesotans grapple with their various personal problems and with one another. Their problems range from unemployment to difficulty getting pregnant, possible alcoholism, sex addiction, and post-traumatic-stress disorder stemming from the 2007 collapse of the I-35W bridge into the Mississippi River during an evening rush hour.

"Things collapse" says David (Elliot Villar) succinctly and sadly, toward the end of the play. Villar is wild-eyed and hauntingly funny as emotionally damaged David, a 30-something husband suffering from recurring PTSD 18 months after his car fell off the bridge and he nearly drowned.

His high-strung attorney wife Hannah, (a moving, desperately perky portrayal by Hannah Cabell), is worried about losing her job. She's also urgently trying to get pregnant while propelling her reluctant husband into alcohol recovery and back to work. Cabell regularly interjects a false little burst of laughter when Hanna's talking, symptomatic of her character's increasing nervous stress.

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