‘We Live Here’: Haunted family, not house

Dinah (Betty Gilpin, left) brings uninvited guest Daniel (Oscar Isaac) home to attend her sister’s wedding in “We Live Here.”

Though it’s not the usual sort of ghost tale you’d expect to see this time of year, “We Live Here” will certainly give you chills — for the first act, at least. A family of writers, musicians and artists is haunted by a past tragedy when its members come together in their lovely upper-middle-class home in rural New England. The warmth and joy of one daughter’s impending wedding is overshadowed when her sister brings home an unexpected guest who stirs up buried memories.

The Bateman home is a feast for the eyes, bringing surprising depth to Manhattan Theatre Club’s New York City Center basement stage, which often skews flat; however, the sumptuous decor and layered rooms are underutilized. The dialogue is smart, nuanced to suit each personality. And the cast conspires to push past any of the script’s other limitations, breathing believability into sometimes implausible actions. However, it’s hard to recall that characters still exist once they’re off the stage or silent — as if they only come alive through their complex reactions to each other. This is especially problematic due to the fact that one of the main characters is never actually seen.

The play builds tension in an everyday setting with intriguing, slightly “off” moments. We know the characters have flaws behind their affable social veneers, and it’s riveting to try and figure them out — especially with regard to an alluded former “accident.” But the delicious anticipation burns itself out during intermission, and a super-short second act feels half-cocked. The post-climactic payout threatens to leave the audience and characters in the same predicament — disengaged.

Who lives there?

The story takes place at the home of nearly manic matriarch Maggie (Amy Irving) and passively intellectual dad Lawrence (Mark Blum). Daughter Dinah (Betty Gilpin) returns from college for the weekend to see her sister Althea (Jessica Collins) marry Sandy (Jeremy Shamos). And her date to the event is none other than Daniel (Oscar Isaac), an old family friend — so to speak — who also once resided with the family.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.