Donate now!
 
home
season
press
blog
play readings
support
contact
 

 

A lie sweet in the mouth is sour in the stomach.” - Aeschylus

A woman is forced to confront her dead husband's identical twin brother in this remarkable tale of loss and how two very different people handle their grief.

FIRST REVIVAL: We’re proud to be granted the rights to the first production in NY since the Lincoln Center premiere.

Starring Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker. Directed by Adam Reich.

February 21 - March 9, 2014
Wed-Sat @ 7pm; Sat & Sun @ 2pm

The Seeing Place @ ATA's Sargent Theater
314 West 54th St. 4th Floor. NYC

SYNOPSIS

DYING CITY follows Kelly, who lost her husband, Craig, to the Iraq War a year before. Despite being a therapist, Kelly has successfully buried her grief until a literal reminder, Peter (Craig’s identical twin brother) shows up unannounced at her door. Grief and guilt collide, and questions for which there are no answers are asked.

A Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2008, DYING CITY is a quiet, unsettling play about grief, identity and violence in the human psyche – the lies, betrayal and self-deceptions and the centrality of hate in human existence.

Running time: 80 minutes. No intermission.

DYING CITY is presented by special arrangement with DRAMATISTS PLAY SERVICE.

This production has been made possible by the generosity of our community sponsors: Ardesia Wine Bar, Bamboo 52, Barcelona Bar, Columbus Hardware, Kashkaval Garden, Matt's Grill, Noodies Thai Cafe, Pick-A-Bagel, Route 66 Cafe,Valhalla, and Westerly Liquor.

(Playing in repertory with Lee Blessing's TWO ROOMS. Click here for info.)

 

 

(Photos by Russ Rowland. Click here or on a photo above for comprehensive photo gallery.)

 

THE REVIEWS ARE IN!

Howard Miller, Talkin' Broadway - "Revivals of two one-act plays about the collateral damage of war (especially on the ones who are left behind to deal with the consequences) make for a deeply compelling and richly provocative theatrical venture in The Seeing Place’s paired productions of Christopher Shinn’s Dying City and Lee Blessing’s Two Rooms at ATA’s Sargent Theater. Whether you see them on separate days, or, as I did, in back-to-back performances, you will find much to admire and be disturbed by in Dying City, and much to empathize with and be disturbed by in Two Rooms. The two plays could not be more different in style, but seeing them together will feed both your head and your heart, making for striking variations on a theme of how we all strive awkwardly and clumsily to make the right decisions in order to keep our noses above the waterline...The pairing of these two plays was a smart decision by The Seeing Place, which has been steadily growing in terms of the overall quality of the acting and in its increased understanding of production values in the five years of its existence. Both the lighting and of music are very effective in these productions, and such attention to detail greatly enhances them. It was nice to see a packed house on the day I attended, and I hope this means the always-interesting company is drawing well-earned attention to its work."

Ryan Hudak, New York Theatre Review - "An event unlike anything you've seen before...How does one find hope in the midst of ongoing warfare and grief? That question is at the heart of The Seeing Place Theater's powerful rep production of Christopher Shinn's Dying City and Lee Blessing's Two Rooms. Both plays were written years apart, and yet when paired together, the combination is beautiful and emotionally brutal...As an ensemble company, these people have been working together for years, and that history enhances the work. Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker are a prime example of this...Dying City is an acting marathon for Cronican and Walker and they pull it off brilliantly. Their chemistry together, along with Cronican's great ability to convey Kelly's inner turmoil in a simple look, makes Dying City a riveting battle...The Seeing Place had done something very special, placing two separate works together to hit at the mind and the heart. It will leave you with a lot of questions about how this country has and continues to handle the situation in the Middle East. But it doesn't give answers—and in theater that is always a blessing. Theater that provokes debate can be rare, but it’s thrilling when a theater company like this makes that leap with great skill."

Scott Mitchell, Reviews Off Broadway - "An Amazing Dying City consistently surprises the viewer and challenges expectations...I don’t want to give too much away, it would be a sin with a play this rich in emotion, but the actors are amazing...Kelly’s later emotional changes and revelations make Ms. Cronican’s performance exceptional...Mr. Walker inhabits both roles believably with wonderful results...These two aching shows leave you determined to make every second count. And the seconds spent at these two shows are well worth the time."

Greg Solomon, Theatre is Easy - "In its first New York City mounting since the original production at Lincoln Center, the Seeing Place Theater puts forth an admirable revival...Cronican is stellar and heart-breaking as Kelly and enables the audience to relate deeply with a person that we’d likely have little patience for in the real world. Walker also does an admirable job as the brothers...The Seeing Place Theater’s [revival] is a fine representation of the play for those who didn’t get to catch it the first times around."

Anthony Giordano, Stage Buddy - "Brandon Walker, aided by the deft direction of Adam Reich who keeps the characters and their props moving in and out of the set inconspicuously, does an excellent job playing both brothers. As portrayed by Walker, these two characters possess distinct mannerisms and stage presence. Well done. While the two brothers may dominate the plot, though, it is Kelly (played by Erin Cronican) who is the real focus of the play...Cronican gets the part exactly right; her subtle and nuanced performance perfectly fits the unfolding nature of the piece. A good set and effective integration of TV and phone sounds (high five to the sound engineer!) help keep the audience focused as the plot shifts back and forth in time. The pay-off for the audience of "Dying City" is discovering by the end what has brought each character to where he is -- kind of like learning the story behind a snapshot. I highly recommend this for those who like less movement and more character study."

Bina Shariff, HiDrama! - "It's very important to revive plays like this one and The Seeing Place Theater Company seems quite determined and successful in their dedication...Brandon Walker (a very good actor) plays both roles of the soldier and his brother who is an up and coming actor. Erin Cronican (excellent) plays the devastated wife...I look forward to seeing more plays by this very ambitious and dedicated team. Good theater is not about huge budgets and special effects, its about feeling and the craft it evokes and they have been able to reach me in a very sensitive way."

Chris McKittrick, Daily Actor - "In recent years The Seeing Place has been pairing plays by different playwrights with thematic similarities together in repertory. Through hard work and persistence they have been granted the rights to a number of acclaimed plays, and the current productions maintain that high quality of material...While in the past I’ve often been most impressed by The Seeing Place’s work with large ensembles, with Dying City and Two Rooms the company presents two one act plays with small casts in rotating repertory that equals their notable work with far larger casts...I’ve seen Walker play many characters who have a double life, and in this play he ups the ante by playing two characters with double lives. It might be subtle, but he does a lot more than put on a coat in order to distinguish the two. Despite appearing identical, Walker portrays both characters in wholly different ways through body language and vocal inflection. Cronican spends much of the play reacting rather than acting. She is constantly in a state of being uncomfortable around both Craig and Peter regardless of the time period. Kelly is the character with the slowest burn I’ve ever seen Cronican portray, all told by her body language. Her actions – from doing menial tasks in the kitchen to the way she carries herself around Peter – tell the audience far more than anything her character says...As usual with the productions done by The Seeing Place, I strongly recommend seeing what’s happening onstage at this little theater in Hell’s Kitchen."

Ellen G, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "DYING CITY is very interesting. Flashback scenes are effectively handled and Brandon Walker skillfully makes the viewer think that two brothers are actually in the same apartment together (he plays both roles). Both characters are very different in voice and personality, thanks to Walker's characterizations. Erin Cronican gives a very moving performance as a grieving widow struggling to deal with the uneasy truths of her troubled relationship with her husband. The play has twists and turns that take the viewer on a ride, and director Adam Reich brings it all together very well."

Emily N, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "Once again, the Seeing Place has produced two well-acted, fascinating plays. There isn't a thing I would want changed about these productions - the actors gave terrific performances, and as with the Seeing Place's other productions, I know I'll often think about these characters and their stories. I strongly recommend these plays!"

Naomi, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "An intimate theater experience. The piece takes you back to the days of the Iraqi but the two actors give a very human face to the complications that set in to their lives. It's a well written play, and the company handles this revival well, giving the characters new breath."

Afton Toler, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "Erin & Brandon were fantastic in Dying City! Such a heart wrenching story performed beautifully by these two actors. And you can see it at such an affordable price! I absolutely recommend it."

Mark, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "I saw both shows, "Dying City" and "Two Rooms". Highly recommend both plays. Fantastic performances by all. Very compelling and heartfelt pieces. I left the theatre with much to think about. Very emotional. Heightens an awareness in the human condition and our world affairs. Troubling but necessary to confront."

David, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "Two excellent shows. We saw them together, and it was very moving. A great troupe."

Christina Grace, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "Excellent performances, intense play. Dying City was well worth seeing."

Jacqueline Parker Patron Review, Time Out NY: "This interesting juxtaposition of plays provided a fulfilling, thought-provoking afternoon that would be difficult to match even in this culture-loaded city. There were both well performed and directed, and each moving in its own way. The company is young, earnest and always welcoming and eager to do their best. This is a refreshing respite from other groups that don't understand that audiences must be cultivated with intelligent offerings and a smile."

Candice Oden, Patron Review, Time Out NY: "It is a rare and precious thing to witness a perfect play, and The Seeing Place Theater has provided just that with Dying City. The play centers around three characters portrayed by only two actors in 2005 and 2004 dealing with the relationship and emotional consequences (along with the fatal) of the post-9/11 Iraqi war. The tone is brilliantly set with one very short scene at the top of the show, after which Erin Cronican (Kelly) and Brandon Walker (Craig AND his gay twin brother, Peter) deliver fearless performances that leave you with a sense of humanity that you probably did not have when you entered the theater.

Walker's passion for his craft and his sheer acting agility are showcased as he portrays two VERY different characters seemingly effortlessly throughout this play, switching back and so forth so quickly at one point -- even down to an off-stage mini-brawl ... with himself. He has defined the characters so clearly by mannerisms, inflections, posture, and body language that even the minimal costume and prop differences probably wouldn't be necessary to distinguish between his two characters. These are clearly two very different, but VERY honestly, portrayed characters.

Cronican's performance as Kelly is complete perfection. She portrays a therapist that, while having accepted the death of her husband having happened, she is not willing to accept that she has to actually deal with it. As her backstory unfolds throughout the play her performance is all the more haunting, knowing how much darkness she's carrying around with her, yet she is addicted to the not-so-uplifting Law & Order. About halfway through the show, while Walker is basically being an acting gymnast, we realize that Cronican has not once left the stage, and that it is actually SHE who is carrying the show. Watching her emotional roller coaster's rises and falls (being separated only by the stage lights dimming) is watching sheer mastery in art and execution. In every moment of her performance, be it ups and downs, her slyly disconnecting herself from Peter, her giving all of her love and more to Craig, it is truly evident that there is no one more skilled at her craft.

What The Seeing Place has done with this play is raise the bar for all theater, not just indie theater. While Cronican and Walker delivered performances beyond anything they've done in the past, the directing and technical design must not be overlooked. It takes more than acting to create a perfect play, and lights and sound kept the play moving seamlessly.

This is the final weekend of Dying City. Go. Saturday, 3/8/14, at 2pm and 7pm and Sunday, 3/9/14 at 2pm. Stay for Two Rooms if you can. The two plays are perfect being paired together."

 

Articles & Interviews about DYING CITY:

Call Answered: Interview with Adam Reich, Director (via Call Me Adam)

Adam Reich talks 'Dying City' (via Review Fix)

Repertory of DYING CITY and TWO ROOMS - Cast Announced (via Broadway World)

Cast & Creative Team - Q&As (via Our Craft, Our Process, Our Blog)

 

Cast (in order of appearance):

Erin Cronican* (as Kelly) Previous shows with The Seeing Place: MEN IN WHITE (Laura Hudson/Director); HAMLET (Ophelia/Co-Director), A LIE OF THE MIND (Beth), MISS JULIE (Director), LOVE SONG (Molly/Director), DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Roberta), THE LOVER (Sarah), CLOSER (Anna), THREE SISTERS (Masha), LOOK BACK IN ANGER (Helena) and TWELFTH NIGHT (Maria). Regional favorites: THE LAST FIVE YEARS, ANGELS IN AMERICA, WIT, SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING, and EVITA. She has appeared on “Veronica Mars,” and “One Life to Live,” and can be seen in Paul Giamatti’s film, “Cold Souls” (among others.) Special thanks to this amazing ensemble and especially to Brandon Walker who will always be her favorite leading man. Proud member of AEA & SAG-AFTRA. Learn more at www.erincronican.com.
   
Brandon Walker* (as Peter/Craig) is an NYIT nominated actor for his work in The Seeing Place's DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. Other previous shows with The Seeing Place: MEN IN WHITE (Dr. Ferguson); HAMLET (Hamlet); ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (Hamlet); A LIE OF THE MIND (Jake), LOVE SONG (Beane), THE CREDEAUX CANVAS (Winston), WHEN WE HAVE GONE ASTRAY (Ira), WAITING FOR LEFTY (Sid), LOOK BACK IN ANGER (Jimmy), TWELFTH NIGHT (Malvolio), CLOSER (Dan), THREE SISTERS (Andrey), and THE LOVER (Richard). He has worked with The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Poor Players, New Village Arts, Moxie Theatre, ion Theater, North Coast Rep, Sierra Rep, and Barnstormers Theater. Member AEA. Training: David Gideon. Such a joy to share the stage with both glorious ensembles – special thanks to Erin Cronican for keeping me from going mad.
   
 
* = Member of AEA

Creative Team:

Adam Reich (Director) - Most recently produced OTHELLO for the Kinetic Theater Ensemble, of  which he is a founding member. At the age of 10, he started directing short films after finding the perfect lead actress, his badass 3-year-old sister Shayna. Since then he has worked behind the camera for the DGA, the USC SHOAH Foundation and the Academy of Television. An NYU Tisch drama grad, Adam has performed in theaters all over New York City, including BAM, The Public, The Cherry Lane, and New World Stages, and has acted with The Seeing Place on two previous occasions. www.adamreich.com
   
Elle Emerson (Assistant Director / Stage Management) is originally from Southeast Missouri. She graduated from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. She enjoys stage, film, and improvisational acting as well as directing. Her favorite roles include Hermia from Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM & Callie from an independent film adaptation of STOP KISS. Elle enjoys staying as busy as possible. She is the Production Manager for The Seeing Place Theater, in addition she is interning for the Katra Film Festival and Emerging Talent Agency. Most recently Elle played the role of Julie in an episode of Lion TV's show "Deadly Devotions."
   
Duane Pagano Lighting Design
   
Brandon Walker* & Erin Cronican* (Producers - see bios above)
   

 

 


 

 

 


The Seeing Place Theater is a non-profit arts service organization.
Your contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.


 

© Copyright The Seeing Place Theater. All Rights Reserved.
Site made by The Actors' Enterprise.