Monday, May 28, 2012

Rapture, Blister, Burn

Ever since seeing Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn at Playwrights Horizons, I've been thinking a lot about what kind of woman I am, what it means to be a woman in today's society, and what men want and expect from us. That said, the play might benefit from some rewriting and focus.
Virginia Kull, Beth Dixon, and Amy Brenneman
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Catherine (Amy Brenneman) is a successful feminist author. She returns home to take care of her mother Alice (Beth Dixon), who recently suffered a heart attack. Catherine's ex, Don (Lee Tergesen), gets her a job at the college where he works as a dean. Don is now married to Gwen (Kellie Overbey), who studied with them, but chose to be a stay-at-home mother of two. At the start of the play, Avery (Virginia Kull, last seen in Assistance, and I wouldn't be mad if Playwrights Horizons keeps casting her in all its shows) arrives to babysit, but Gwen sends her away because she has a black eye and she doesn't want her son to think violence against women is ok. (Avery didn't get the black eye from her boyfriend, but she did get it working on the reality show they are developing.) Gwen introduces Avery to Catherine, thinking she will be a good influence, and Avery and Gwen sign up for Catherine's class.

The three meet at Alice's house and the classroom scenes are the best in the play. In the first, they discuss Phyllis Schlafly, who opposed equal rights. When they are in the middle of their discourse, I almost wanted to get up on stage and join them, I was so engaged in the conversation. But then the play goes in another direction. Catherine starts to rekindle her romance with Don, leading to somewhat absurd plot developments in act two.

In an interview with Gionfriddo on the Playwrights Horizons website, she says she started writing a play about internet porn. That subject is briefly touched upon, but I would like to see the play she would have written had she stuck to that.

Discount Tickets to Rapture, Blister, Burn for Pataphysical Science readers:
Regular run: May 18-June 24
Tues at 7, Wed-Fri at 8, Sat at 2:30 & 8, Sun at 2:30 & 7:30
Additional Monday evening performance June 11 at 7

Order by June 5 and use the code RBBLOG [note two B's]
$40 (reg. $70) for all performances May 18-27
$50 (reg. $70) for all other performances May 29-June 24

Click here to purchase online

Call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 noon to 8 p.m. daily

In person: Ticket Central Box Office, 416 W. 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenue

Note: The production officially opens on June 12, but I was invited to a preview and asked to post my thoughts.

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