The House of Yes, Circle Theatre. Wendy MacLeod’s creepy little fable about preoccupation with celebrities has garnered a variety of interpretations during its 11-year history. The setting is a gloomy old split-level in a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C., “around the corner from the Kennedys,” 20 years after JFK was assassinated. On a hurricane-swept Thanksgiving, Marty Pascal has brought his wholesome fiancee home to meet his family, an eccentric clan–especially Marty’s unstable twin sister, whose obsession with their ill-starred neighbors has inspired an incestuous ritual that involves reenacting the assassination.
Wisely, director Greg Kolack makes no attempt to present this material realistically, instead opting for an archly artificial tone that makes the most of MacLeod’s cartoonish gothic motifs (further emphasized by Stephen Kolack’s Edward Gorey-inspired set, Marisa Davis’s monochromatic costumes, and Peter Storms’s sly sound design). Siobhan Sullivan and Casey Hayes are a suitably doomed pair of necrophiliac siblings, Jay Fontanetta projects a doglike patience as their enabling younger brother, and Lynn Ann Bernato-wicz as the fiancee is refreshingly scrappy in what could have been a standard-issue damsel-in-distress role. Dominating the stage, however, is Carrie McNulty as the Pascal materfamilias, giving a foghorn-voiced Norma Desmond impression in the role of a dowager whose aplomb would do a first lady proud.