Sticks and Bones

November 7, 2014 2:05 AM

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David Rabe's blistering Vietnam-era play Sticks and Bones—currently playing in a galvanizing, brilliant revival by the New Group through Dec. 14 at Off Broadway's Signature Theatre—is one of those works that can crash and burn at the slightest misappropriation. Controversial even upon its 1971 debut when American troops were in the thick of the events presented, the play straddles the finest line of outrage and black-as-tar comedy. It provoked walkouts in its time and, later, a refusal by many local affiliates to air a subsequent television version. One false move by any creators can easily tip the play into either silliness, or worse, indifference.

Scott Elliott's expertly rendered production (which trims the text down just a tad) not only fully honors playwright Rabe's adventurous, uncompromised intentions, but quite possibly makes the prose more relevant than ever thanks to the rise of PTSD. David (wonderfully played by rising star David Sch...

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