The John Houseman Studio Theatre, in the newly revitalized West 42nd Street theatre district, provides an appropriately intimate setting for the two one-acts that comprise *Intimate Strangers*, an exciting and harrowing production staged by two new upstart theatre companies and running throughout June.

Specter, by Don Nigro, opens the evening. It is best described as a tale of the depths of intimacy that one can achieve with a stranger: A dark night. A rain storm. A man driving down a deserted road. A woman dressed in white suddenly appears. He swerves to avoid her and plants his car in a ditch. We meet the pair in the front seat of the car. Does she plan to make love to him, kill him, or both? The play is an intriguing exploration of the relationship of desire to danger, and of the dubious consequences that await both the doer and the beneficiary of a good deed between strangers. Director Kevin Kittle, a graduate of the MFA directing program at Rutgers University, teams up again with Danielle Liccardo and Eric Walton in this gripping character drama.

 

At Home, by Michael Weller, continues the madness with its tale of the depths of strangeness that one can achieve with an intimate: Paul and Carol are expecting dinner guests. What they aren't expecting are the devastating revelations that follow a simple fight over meal preparations. Will the ordeal spell an end to their six year marriage, or bring them closer to understanding? Anyone who has ever been in a relationship will find much that is funny, familiar, and disturbing in Michael Weller's masterful study of a woman, a man, and their life together of quiet desperation. Tessa Blake (director of the upcoming film *Five Wives, Three Secretaries, and Me*, scheduled for a September release) directs Nicole Brandon and Rey Howard in this tangled relationship tale.

 

I would love to tell you more about the show, but a great deal of the fun is figuring out exactly what is going on as the events rapidly unfold. *Intimate Strangers* played to very enthusiastic audiences during its opening weekend. The great American playwright Edward Albee was among those in attendance, and word is spreading fast, so reservations are not a bad idea. *Intimate Strangers* is the second play from Inertia Productions, following *The House of Yes* at the Currican Theatre. It is the debut production of Theatre of the Harvest Moon.

The show runs according to the following schedule: June 3-5 (Thursday-Saturday), June 10-12 (Thursday-Saturday), June 16-19 (Wednesday-Saturday); June 23-26 (Wednesday-Saturday). All shows begin at 8:00 pm. Tickets $15. For reservations call 212.501.2375. John Houseman Studio Theatre, 450 W 42nd St (between 9th & 10th Aves).

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