Monday, April 22, 2013

Quick Hit Theater Review: Collapse

Hannah Cabell and Elliot Villar. Photo: Carol Rosegg

By Allison Moore
Directed by Jackson Gay
The Women’s Project

What’s It All About?
A dark comedy about the effects of the collapse of the bridge on 1-35 West and the world economy. David (Elliot Villar) and Hannah (Hannah Cabell) are trying to get pregnant – and back to normal – as David recovers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, suffered when his car was caught in the collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis. He doesn’t talk about the experience which plunged him into the Mississippi, but he drinks a lot and hasn’t been going to work. Hannah is feeling some stress herself over this, especially since her clients are suffering from the economic collapse, leaving her law firm in droves and taking with them her hopes of making partner – or even of keeping her job.

Adding to the tension in their Minneapolis home is the unexpected visit of Hannah’s sister, Susan (Nadia Bowers), who has been evicted from her apartment, but managed to book a plane ticket to her sister’s by promising to deliver a mystery package for a guy named Bulldog. Desperate, Hannah seeks help for how to deal with David’s drinking problem at a support meeting which she thinks is an AA group. Instead, she meets Ted (Maurice McRae), who is a sex addict. The two hit it off, through Hannah isn’t quite sure if Ted’s tale about being impotent is true or just a ruse to try to get her in bed. When Ted’s real identity is revealed, their relationship has consequences for Susan and David, who finally confronts his memories of falling off the bridge.

What are the Highlights?
Loved the set designed by Lee Savage. A metal truss-like framework doubles as a wall of the couple’s condo, then flips to become the 1-35 Bridge. The messages are good: Ted advises Hannah to stop trying to fix everything, let go and see what happens. The way the couple works through their difficulties is realistic and hopeful.

What are the Lowlights:
The plot is a bit contrived. Would a couple facing economic uncertainty and David’s apparent inability to deal with his trauma or his drinking problem really be trying so hard to have a baby? A sex addict who also is impotent (conveniently propelling the story) and Ted’s actual identity are a bit much to swallow. Costume designs by Oana Botez are odd with the question, “What the heck is she wearing?” coming to mind a couple of times, especially for one satin-trimmed outfit Hannah wears to take a deposition. Can’t imagine a lawyer wearing it.

More information:
Collapse is the final production in the Women’s Project’s 35th anniversary year with a theme of questioning the state of the American dream. It plays at NY City Center, 131 West 55th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) through May 19. Tickets and info:

Christians might also like to know: 
-- Partial nudity
--Sexual dialogue
--God’s name taken in vain
--Eastern philosophy 

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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