Unfortunately, there are two different, longer (or not less than seemingly longer) components of “Pain.” And they discover and lengthen the romantic pathology of that first scene by underlining, italicizing and capitalizing every part that was already so impeccably implicit.
Its second scene takes place 4 years later — on the evening President Trump is elected — in an house occupied by a now bedridden Cat. She is seemingly affected by untreated Lyme illness. But we all know higher.
Metaphorically, not less than, it’s the not the chew of a tick however of a poisonous lover that has poisoned Cat to such a extreme diploma that she has forsaken her job, her social life, her independence. Guy visits her, bearing groceries, and their relationship is strictly because it was, besides that it now entails hungry intercourse. Or makes an attempt at hungry intercourse, since coitus is repeatedly interrupted by calls from Guy’s spouse, whom he has clearly not left, and their younger daughters.
The third scene takes on one other election evening, this one in 2020. Apparently, Mr. Trump is working for a second time period. We are clearly being invited to deduce a correlation between Cat’s destiny and that of a nation.
I gained’t say far more about this ultimate scene, besides that it introduces two characters we haven’t met earlier than, and that they’re convincingly embodied by Vanessa Kai and Keira Belle Young. “Pain” is completely forged, superbly acted, fluidly directed and astutely designed by a staff that features Mark Wendland (the metamorphic set), Paloma Young (costumes), Ben Stanton (lighting) and Elisheba Ittoop (music and sound).
But it in the end collapses underneath the burden of heavy symbols and too literal-minded political correspondences. Ms. Feiffer has stated that she needed her newest comedy to be “the theatrical equivalent” of Kristen Roupenian’s “Cat Person.”
That’s the much-debated, Twitter-immortalized 2017 New Yorker quick story about one other date from hell. (Ms. Feiffer suggestions her hat to Ms. Roupenian not solely by utilizing the identify Cat but in addition by making that character a New Yorker author.)
But after that fabulous, horrible and all-too-familiar pas de deux that begins the play, “Pain” sheds the succinctness and indirection that characterize the most effective quick tales and treads water — thematically and dramatically — for one more hour. Like its suffocatingly entangled lovers, it doesn’t know when to give up.
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