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Abingdon Square 

The Shotgun Players miss the target in this disjointed tale of a young woman's love affair in early 20th-century New York

Wednesday, Jun 26 2002
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Maria Irene Fornes' drama about a young woman in early 20th-century New York plays like a bad Edith Wharton remake. Marion, an orphaned girl, marries a rich adult man at 14. As she grows up, she feels trapped, and her great bid for romantic freedom turns, predictably, to disaster. The story might have heft if it weren't so episodic, but Fornes' quick scenes, interrupted by blackouts (about 30 of them), keep the audience from knowing the characters. Instead of a play we get a series of 30 cameos that never builds much tension. Myla Balugay does strong, vivid work -- when she can -- as Marion, and Christopher Herold isn't bad as her stiff husband, Juster, but director Shana Cooper hasn't finessed the play well enough to keep it from feeling jerky and mechanical. Advance press releases promised that Marion's wild love affair would "mirror the turbulent times" -- women's suffrage, modernism, jazz, and union agitators -- but none of that is in the script, and Cooper fails to suggest any life beyond the stifling world of Manhattan parlors. A strange, rare failure by the Shotgun Players.

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