Charles Isherwood's article ran in The New York Times, 11/2/09.)

Sisterly Bonds, Tight Enough to Strangle

By their nature people are talkers,” says Breda, one of three sisters presiding over a mad, mostly tea-less tea party in “The New Electric Ballroom,” a comedy written and directed by the singular Irish playwright Enda Walsh that opened on Sunday night at St. Ann’s Warehouse. “You can’t deny that,” she continues in an agonized, breathless mumble. “You can, but you’d be affirming what you’re arguing against, and what would the point of that be? No point.” 

This irrefutable bit of logic is among the more clear-eyed moments in this mordantly funny, weirdly transfixing play. And while the need to speak may be a natural inheritance, for some people it is much more. Breda and her sister Clara chatter away to convince themselves they are alive, but also to avoid truly living. “There’s a terrible lull in the conversation,” Clara says with a squirm when the chatter stops. “The sort of lull that can get you worrying about other things.” It’s an observation Samuel Beckett would surely approve.

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