(Michael Feingold’s article appeared in the Village Voice, 3/14.)

"At first glance," the opening stage direction of Tina Howe's Painting Churches (Theatre Row) tells us, the living room of the Church family's townhouse on Beacon Hill "looks like any discreet Boston interior, but on closer scrutiny one notices a certain flamboyance." Almost impossible to duplicate in three-dimensional reality—how do you conceal flamboyance behind discretion?—this piece of literary wishful thinking provides a handy key to the writing style of Howe's delightful, disturbing, and ultimately moving 1983 play. It also supplies a useful defense of director Carl Forsman's revival for Keen Company, which has been unjustly ragged on for providing almost exactly what Howe seems to desire.


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