Friday, November 07, 2008

New Review: The Language of Trees

In New York Press. This went up a few days ago on the website and is now out in print.

Here's the tease:

Ever wonder whether authors dream up their titles before writing, or if the process is vice versa? My hunch is that both scenarios are popular, though it’s hard to imagine playwright Steven Levenson starting off with a phrase like The Language of Trees and then developing such a heartening tale.

Set in 2003, the play finds an American couple in stress. The husband, Denton Pinkerstone, hauntingly portrayed by Michael Hayden, is a civilian translator set to go to Iraq during the halcyon days of the war. Levenson is lean on back story, but Denton’s rationale isn’t pro-Bush, “mission accomplished” politics so much as simple patriotism, a belief that his Arabic-speaking skills will aid his nation. Still, it’s a grim mood as wife Loretta, nerves on a hair-trigger as played by Natalie Gold, implores Denton to change his mind, lie to military subcontractors—anything to stay home.

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