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In Quietness

  • Theater, Drama
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

In Quietness: Theater review by Jenna Scherer

So here's a tale: An unemployed writer, Paul (Blake DeLong), starts having an affair. When his mistress gets hit by a car, he confesses everything to his wife, Max (Kate MacCluggage)—a high-powered executive—and tells her that he wants to uproot their lives to become a Born-Again Christian minister. Naturally, she responds by dumping his ass and moving on with her life.

Just kidding! That would make way too much sense. Nope: Max quits her job, and the couple relocates from Manhattan to a seminary in Texas, where Paul will train as a pastor and she will train as…a housewife. All of these hugely implausible decisions go down in the first 15 minutes of In Quietness, leaving you the rest of the play to ask yourself why any of this is happening in the first place.

Playwright Anna Moench seems to really want to say something about feminism, marriage, religion, and the intersection of the three. And everyone's got a point of view: Beth (a charming Lucy DeVito), Max's bubbly roommate at the seminary, believes in traditional marriage to the nth degree; Terri (Alley Scott), their Dolores Umbridge-like overseer, is as Machiavellian as she is reactionary; and Paul wants it all—a submissive wife, a ministry and the leeway to still pine over his comatose mistress.

And then there's Max, who despite being the protagonist, is a total cipher. Though she constantly reiterates that she must be crazy to have dropped everything for her despicable husband, she provides no clue as to why she keeps it up (despite a thoughtful performance from MacCluggage).

As a writer, Moench is a cipher, too. The play raises troubling questions about subservience, consent and just how much a person should sacrifice for love. But as the play's final quarter veers into sitcom-y tropes, it's unclear what we're meant to take away from it. As Danya Taymor's hazily directed production does little to clarify, I doubt In Quietness will win many converts.—Jenna Scherer

Walkerspace (Off-Off Broadway). By Anna Moench. Directed by Danya Taymor. With Kate MacCluggage, Blake DeLong, Lucy DeVito. Running time: 1hr 50mins. No intermission.

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