The Celebration Company at the Station Theatre
presents Dying City
written by Christopher Shinn and directed by Gary Ambler. Shinn is a New
York-based playwright whose first play, Four,
premiered at London’s RoyalCourtTheatre when he was only
23 years old. Many of his other plays have premiered at this prestigious venue
and have since been produced all over the United States and around the world.
He has won an Obie for playwriting and a Guggenheim fellowship. Dying City was a finalist for the 2008
Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Shinn is known for delving deeply into the intrinsic
values of human nature, class systems, family relations, and sexuality.
Dying City deals
with all these issues plus a few more that keep the audience and actors on
their toes. Shinn has often said that if he were not a writer, he would have
been a psychoanalyst; a fact made very clear in this show. The story is a
commentary on physical and emotional violence and how it affects not just those
directly involved but is dispersed to so many individuals down the line.
At the top of the play Kelly is unexpectedly
visited by Peter, her late husband’s identical twin brother. The two have
not spoken since Craig’s funeral a year before. As the show progresses,
we are taken back and forth through time and are shown the intricacies of many
intertwined relationships. The play provocatively addresses such topics as the
war in Iraq,
manipulation, fear of abandonment and failure, and the separation of social
classes and what happens when those lines are crossed. Throughout the play, we
see the three characters being forced to face their own demons and those of the
people they love.
Dying City is
expertly directed by seasoned Celebration Company member Gary Ambler. Ambler
has most recently directed Stone Cold Dead
Serious by Adam Rapp and appeared in Iron Kisses by James Still, The
Lieutenant of Inishmore by Martin McDonagh, and Where the Great Ones Run by Mark Roberts.
He leads the cast of two proficiently through Christopher Shinn’s
somewhat disturbing world. His vision of the story comes to life through
skillful performances by Mike Prosise (who played in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, Where the Great Ones Run by Mark Roberts,
and co-directed Iron Kisses by
James Still) and Martha Mills (who acted in Sexual
Perversity in Chicago, stage managed Woyzeck by George Buchner and The Balcony by Jean Genet, and produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee
Williams and Lieutenant of Inishmore
by Martin McDonagh.)
The show opens on October 16th and runs through the
25th with performances on the 17th, 18th, 19th, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th. All
performances are at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 on Thursday, and $15 on Friday and
Saturday; Wednesday and Sunday performances have a half-price discount and
tickets are $6. For reservations, call the theatre at 217-384-4000. The Station
Theatre is located at 223 North Broadway in Urbana, Illinois,
with free parking directly across the street compliments of Sav-a-Lot.