The play currently running at the Capital T Theatre in Austin is called “Dying City” by Christopher Shinn. It is a two-person show and stars Liz Fisher and Mark Scheibmeir.
And of course, we can’t forget that some of our very own alumni and current students worked hard to make this play happen. Cathrin Winsor, a current SU student, was the stage manager for this production. Heather Leisieur, another current student here, was in charge of costume design. Dan Farrar, a recent graduate, worked on the scenic and lighting design for the production along with Mark Pickell, who also helped with the scenic design the show required.
This was a very emotional play. It revolves around the lives of three people and how the war in Iraq and Afghanistan has affected their family. The story takes place a few years after 9/11 in New York. It surrounds Kelly (Fisher), her husband Craig (Scheibmeir) and his twin brother Peter (also Scheibmeir). Craig is a soldier getting ready to be deployed, while his brother Peter is a semi-successful actor who is constantly having relationship problems. Kelly, a therapist, is caught up in the middle of it all. She is busy reconciling her feelings about the recent news that Craig’s death may not have been an accident and her desire to start a new life without the ties that are binding her to her husband’s old life.
The scenes alternate between conversations between Kelly and Craig the day before he is to be deployed and conversations between Kelly and Peter about a year or so after news gets back that Craig has “suspiciously” died while overseas.
Each scene sheds a little more light on the story and the secret lives of the people involved. While I do not want to give away too much of the ending, I will say that I never saw it coming.
This was a really remarkable show. I was considerably impressed with Scheibmeir’s ability to play two such contrasting roles so fluidly. And Fisher’s constant volley back and forth between grief in her scenes with Peter and confusion with Craig was quite an impressive performance as well.
The story itself is also terribly heart-wrenching. I found myself having a hard time watching these people’s lives fall apart around them in such a short time. While some people might be reluctant to see the show because of the plot surrounding the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it mainly focuses on the turmoil within the family and not on the war itself.
All in all, I was really impressed. The backstage work on this show was just as impressive and note-worthy as the onstage acting. This is certainly a tribute to the talents of the SU students and grads who worked on it and helped put it together.
I would certainly recommend that anyone go and see it. The show will be playing at the Capital T Theatre, located at 916 Springdale Road in Austin, until Feb. 6. Show times vary and there isn’t always a price for tickets. For more information on the show, the theatre, or order tickets online.