Three intersecting love triangles form the basis of Catherine Yu’s ambitious new play. The first includes Nick (Ben Chase), a rising modern academic who attempts to ward off the unwanted affections of his female pupil Laurel (Lauren Currie Lewis), while also consoling his grieving wife, Claire (Julia Watt). The second shifts us to Cambridge, 1912, where philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein carries on an affair with a male colleague who is soon to be married and sent abroad. Finally, we revisit the gender-bent romance of Orsino, Viola and Olivia from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The links that bring the three segments together—Ludwig once saw a production of Twelfth Night; Nick explains Ludwig’s experiments to Laurel—are insufficient to keep the piece cohesive. We’re left with a trio of underdeveloped plays crunched together by circumstance, filled with characters “brimming to say something” but more inclined to spout hypotheses about duty, desire and role-playing than to engage in meaningful dialogue. The Sun Experiment has an eye-catching structure, but the premise doesn’t live up to the promise.—Chris Corbo
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