SQUARE ONE, TinFish Theatre. Steve Tesich’s play is set in a regimented society of the future in which art is subsidized and controlled by the government, and television is the opiate of the people. But Adam, an artist, is confident that love can still survive, though Dianne is wary of its hazards.
Amy Weinstein, who directs this TinFish production, has compounded the play’s hazards by instructing Lydia York to play Dianne as a hebephrenic grotesque who speaks in shrill little gasps punctuated by piercing squeals; she expresses mental acuity by wrinkling up her nose like a baby contemplating strained broccoli. Though Dianne’s humanitarian principles and ingenuous observations are probably intended to seem insightful, even charming, in this production Adam–played by Ron Haynes as slick, selfish, and manipulative but well short of caricature–becomes subversively attractive.
One character says to the other early in their relationship, “I don’t know what you see in me”–but when we don’t know either, the show’s in trouble. Adam and Dianne’s final reconciliation hits the right pitch, but by then it’s much too late.
–Mary Shen Barnidge