First Nighter: Naomi Wallace's "And I and Silence" and Not Much

August 26, 2014 3:27 AM

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If you tend to think of playwright Naomi Wallace as compulsively pretentious--I do--be advised that And I and Silence, the title of her recent work now at The Pershing Square Signature Center, won't go a long way towards disabusing you of the notion. It's a quote from Emily Dickinson's poem "I Felt a Funeral in My Brain," but even so, separated from its source to float alone doesn't take the edge off its highfalutin ring here.

Then the play gets underway and further substantiates Wallace's So-Important proclivities. In it Dee (Samantha Soule), who's white, and Jamie (Rachel Nicks), who's black, inhabit a squalid one-room apartment as they go about attempting to make a life for themselves in 1959, while alternately young D...

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