(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 1/ 2; via Pam Green.)

LONDON — For Edie and Arthur, an English couple who have lived together on a farm for some 40 years, life’s final horizon seems to have reared up with an alarming suddenness. The days and years have passed by uneventfully for this contented and very settled pair, for whom even holidays were rare events. But now Edie’s mind has begun to falter. She can’t move very well, but more distressingly, words don’t come as easily as they once did, and when they do, they may not be the ones intended.

“What you want to say builds up like water behind a dam,” as Edie says in one of her frequent moments of sharp lucidity, “but the dam will never open again. You talk about the past when you mean to ask for the butter knife. Or when you talk about little things, what you think of is the things you love, and you want to talk about them, but the words won’t come.”

In “Visitors,” a tender and often wryly funny first full-length play by Barney Norris, Edie’s gradual decline and its effects on her family — her devoted husband, Arthur; her slightly estranged son, Stephen — are explored with moving simplicity and unadorned eloquence. First seen here early last year, the play has been remounted with the director, Alice Hamilton, and the superb original cast intact at the Bush Theater, one of London’s fertile incubators of new playwriting.


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