Stage Review

THE MERCY SEAT (2002 - 2003)


Details Opening Date: Dec 18, 2002; Lead Performances: Liev Schreiber and Sigourney Weaver; Writer: Neil LaBute; Director: Neil LaBute

Between her roles in The Guys and this new play by Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Bash), Sigourney Weaver has cornered the market on post-9/11 two-handers. Here she's miscast as a Manhattan executive whose younger, married lover (Liev Schreiber) blew off a meeting at the World Trade Center to hook up with her on the morning of the attacks. Actually, the words World Trade Center are never uttered amid the half-finished sentences and semantic loops of LaBute's occasionally incisive, often frustrating exercise in Mametism. Weaver frequently stumbles over the stilted language, but Schreiber almost saves the show with his powerfully magnetic presence. By using the tragedy as little more than a backdrop for one of his patented battles of the sexes, however, LaBute risks reducing it to a dramatic gimmick.

Originally posted Jan 03, 2003 Published in issue #689 Jan 03, 2003 Order article reprints

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