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The House of Yes 

Wednesday, Aug 27 2003
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Wendy MacLeod's strange play about a deeply screwed-up family in a wealthy D.C. suburb premiered at the Magic Theatre 13 years ago and became a movie starring Parker Posey in 1997. The story centers on "Jackie O," the family daughter who once maintained a long, possessive romance with her brother Marty. (People call her "Jackie O" because of her obsession with said widow.) When Marty comes home midhurricane with a new fiancee -- Lesly, who works in a doughnut shop -- and declares that he just wants to be "normal," Jackie begins to lose her mind. Ann Lawler, as Jackie, is funny and intense -- she conjures real tears twice in two hours -- but also monochrome, as if she's found a single edgy attitude and clung to that. Arwen Anderson plays a convincing ditz as Lesly, but she has the same one-note problem, as does Jason Baeten, who can be funny as the dropout brother Anthony. Peter Matthews as Marty and Pamela Whipp as Mrs. Pascal (the mother) are simply detached and flat. The piece isn't just an absurd portrait of a rich family, like The Royal Tenenbaums; it also has moments of dark, obsessive emotion, but this untextured production mainly succeeds with the jokey bits.

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