‘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
Local

Drive charged in fatal hit and run, police…

The NYPD has arrested a man they say is responsible for a fatal hit and run in Manhattan last weekend. Doohee Cho, 33, was hit…

Local

Mayor de Blasio raises minimum wage for some…

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order Tuesday morning that will raise the minimum wage for workers employed by private companies that receive more…

National

3 myths about the working poor

Linda Tirado works to debunk some common stereotypes about the working poor in her new book, "Hand to Mouth."

Money

Lawsuit funding advances: friend or foe?

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Many plaintiffs awaiting resolution of their lawsuit or legal claim often find themselves in a tricky financial…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

Entertainment

Interview: Metro chats with filmmaker Meir Kalmanson, man…

A New York filmmaker hands out smiles to its residents.

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 30: 'Selfie,' 'Utopia'…

'Selfie' This modern day take on the "My Fair Lady" story stars John Cho in the Henry Higgins role. Perhaps instead of "the rain in…

Music

Can't-miss weekend events continue to attract the masses

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article Earlier this summer, the Firefly Music Festival drew crowds of tens of thousands of people to Dover, Delaware.…

MLB

Mets 2014 report card

The Mets wrapped up their eight straight season without a playoff appearance last weekend. Needless to say, they fell a bit short of general manager…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

Style

Products that support breast cancer awareness and research

Asics GT-1000, $100 Asics’ third pink collection in collaboration with Christina Applegate’s Right Action for Women includes this pink-accented version of its best-selling GT-1000 3…

Wellbeing

Dr. Marisa Weiss: Where we stand on breast…

As an oncologist and a survivor herself, Dr. Marisa Weiss knows the urgency felt by those diagnosed with breast cancer. Genetic testing has accelerated the…

Wellbeing

Bees' stingers hold new hope for cancer cure

A promising new lead in the search for a cancer cure has turned up in a place that most people naturally avoid. A team from…

Home

Emily Henderson on small space design

Design expert Emily Henderson shows us how to upgrade our cramped quarters.