Audience members must pass through the set and tread over a treacherous, kabuki-style bridge to access the seating area at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where Jennifer Barclay’s new play is staged, though the large chasm separating spectators from the playing space hardly discourages you from connecting with the characters.
In a run-down tenement building, a writer struggles to woo his mysterious neighbor with a fairy tale. From below, a blustering government agent spies on the girl, who loves the writer yet is ashamed of her secret past. The landlady pines for her long-lost son, an unseen couple alternately fight and screw, and a hooded stranger infiltrates the chaos.
On William Anderson’s great, big set, “Obscura” plays out like a chamber musical minus the music. When the actors nail their discrete rhythms, scenes build into a wonderful, expressionistic cacophony. Certain design cues might confuse the time period and setting, but Red Tape’s latest conveys a dark artistry. (Neal Ryan Shaw)
Red Tape Theatre at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 621 West Belmont, (847)738-6919, through October 23.