Two gems for the price of one: Lewiston/Clarkston, a thrilling double feature at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, is actually two plays from the same playwright, each with three actors and the same director, each with a devastating story with characters that will haunt you for a long time. There's a symmetry to these two new plays even if their stories are wildly different, made even more cohesive by the fact that the evening includes a themed communal dinner sandwiched between them. Even cooler? The gritty and intimate Rattlestick space matches the vibe of the plays, making it extra powerful that much of the action takes place really close to the audience.
Lewiston and Clarkston are small towns on the border of Washington and Idaho that are a noted spot on the famous Lewis & Clark Trail. Lewiston (on the Idaho side), focuses on a prodigal granddaughter who returns just as her grandmother is about to sell the family’s remaining land to subdivision developers. Clarkston takes us inside a Costco stockroom where two young gay men find solace in each other’s existence.
Photos: Jeremy Daniel
All six actors are terrific, but some specific shoutouts include NYC theater favorite Arnie Burton who, in Lewiston, does what he does best: makes you laugh and breaks your heart at the same time with every single line of dialogue. In Clarkston, the sublime Edmund Donovan gives a performance that is so good you’ll have a hard time believing his character isn’t a real person living and breathing right in front of you. This up-and-comer is absolutely oozing with talent.
The whole evening will knock the breath out of you and remind you why you live in NYC: to be able to take advantage of such incredible theatrical experiences as this. Oh…and the chicken at the communal meal is delicious! (They have a vegan option as well.)
Lewiston/Clarkston runs through December 16.
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