The Flu Season

Will Eno's play is set on promising ground — a Man (Tim Wright) and a Woman (Jamey Hood) meet in a psychiatric institution and fall in love. From the start, though, we sense our David and Lisa expectations will be thwarted. First, the evening is introduced by two characters named Prologue and Epilogue (Michael McColl and Christopher Goodson, respectively), who will narrate the scenes we are about to watch, as well as comment on them later. They won't merely discuss the couple's affair, but also its relationship to language and what might be called the pathology of theater. As if it weren't bad enough having two Wilderesque stage managers onboard, more narrators, the Doctor and the Nurse (David Fruechting and Christina Mastin), also take a hand at editorializing, and the Man and Woman often speak to each other as though they're quoting themselves to other people. By unconventionally stressing certain words, they bestow ambiguity on some lines or add unexpected meaning to others — it's as though Barbara Kruger had written the script. There is some funny, provocative repartee here, but before long, our interest sags beneath the weight of Eno's self-referential irony. "This is neither a not-winter nor a not-summer," one character exhales; at least as an acting spectacle, the evening is a not-disappointment under Jonathan Westerberg's direction, with Hood making a lasting impression as one very fragile patient. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Starts: Feb. 16. Continues through March 29, 2008

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