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"We Live Here" by Zoe Kazan Is Presented by Manhattan Theatre Club at City Center Stage I
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We Live Here

By Zoe Kazan
Directed by Sam Gold

Manhattan Theatre Club
City Center Stage I
West 55th Street, Btw. 6th and 7th Avenues

Artistic Director, Lynne Meadow
Executive Producer, Barry Grove

Mark Bulm, Amy Irving,
Jessica Collins, Oscar Isaac,
Betty Gilpin. Jeremy Shamos

Scenic Design, John Lee Beatty
Costume Design, David Zinn
Lighting Design, Ben Stanton
Original Music & Sound Design, Ryan Rumery
Fight Direction: Thomas Schall
Production Stage Manager: David H. Lurie
Casting: David Caparelliotis
Artistic Producer: Mandy Greenfield
General Manager, Florie Seery
Director of Marketing, Debra Waxman-Pilla
Production Manager, Joshua Helman
Director of Casting, Nancy Piccione
Director of Artistic Development: Jerry Patch
Press Representative, Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 14, 2011

The audience is introduced to a stage set of cushy chairs, crown moldings, oriental rugs, and boxes from Crate & Barrel. You’re drawn in, wishing you could be invited for cabernet and conversation, to relax with what should seem an interesting group. Soon Amy Irving, as Maggie, mother of the bride, is opening and cataloguing gifts, on her own, before the bride-to-be even arrives. There will be no bridal shower here, but rather an unfolding family drama, with elements of death, infidelity, motorcycle crashes, repression, depression, remorse, and more. Dinah (Betty Gilpin), sister of the bride, arrives with news of a boyfriend, who will escort her to the wedding, but Daniel’s entrance, following a rush of hidden phone calls, causes grief and chaos. There was yet a third sister, twin of the bride, Andi, who’s been dead many years. In between meeting Dinah and Daniel, student and teacher at Juilliard, we meet Maggie’s husband, father of the girls, Lawrence (Mark Blum), who seems to be the glue that keeps this brood sane. Lawrence is a professor in this insular, New England college town, and his philosophy books surround the stage. But, reason is remote.

The two affianced, Althea (Jessica Collins) and Sandy (Jeremy Shamos), arrive in advance of Daniel, so there’s quite a rumble when Andi’s memory and demise are mixed with the nuptial preparations. One would think the third sister’s memory would enhance the moment, a sense of togetherness, a closing of a circle, but many secrets seem buried along with Andi, and here’s where this new play, by Zoe Kazan, became befuddled. Ms. Kazan is a brilliant actor, and she was well reviewed in this magazine, when she appeared in The Seagull and Angels in America. But, throughout We Live Here, there was a morose level of edge that never seemed to crack. Even when Daniel and Sandy switched sisters, for a time, in an incongruous turn of emotions, Sandy painted Dinah’s image, while they chatted in psychobabble, and Daniel and Althea went for a fateful motorcycle ride. Maggie is a shrill character, while the professorial Lawrence is detached. The daughters are unhinged, and their lovers are unsure. The woven plot is not without seams, and, in fact, there are tares in the fabric of the finale. The play ends with a level of unfinished ideas.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at