In a Garden Closing (Theater and Galleries) Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 19 2013

Howard Korder's sly 2010 play unfolds in Aquaat, an Iraq-like Middle Eastern nation ruled by a Saddam Hussein-esque dictator called Najid. At the start it's 1989 and things are very, very good. Evidently rolling in oil money, Najid's Westernized, sophisticated minister of culture, Othman, is busy overseeing huge construction projects by celebrity architects like Michael Graves. But he's saved one small job for Hackett, a young Canadian with no major buildings to his credit. Of course, history intervenes. In nine scenes covering 15 years, we watch the ineluctable arc of Najid's tyranny transform both Hackett's commission—a gazebo in a garden—and his relationship with Othman. What looks at first like a straight-out satire turns dark and even touching in Lou Contey's staging. Larry Grimm makes a study of frustration as Hackett, but it's Rom Barkhordar's show: his Othman is a minor functionary of tragic complexity. —Tony Adler

Price: $25-$30

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