Theater review: ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’

Martinis help the sleek dialogue flow in "Rapture, Blister, Burn," which runs through June 24 at Playwrights Horizons.

Phyllis Schlafly: It’s a name to send shivers down the spine of any self-respecting feminist, belonging to the woman who defeated the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s. Yet Schlafly is mentioned, with plenty of censure but a surprising amount of approbation, no less than 20 times in Gina Gionfriddo’s “Rapture, Blister, Burn” at Playwrights Horizons. Firmly focused on the women’s issue of family versus career, “Rapture” could easily be labeled a feminist play. But why limit a work so specific and so wonderfully expansive?

Catherine (Amy Brenneman) — a highly successful, mediagenic academic — returns home after her mother (Beth Dixon) suffers a heart attack. She reconnects with her old college friends, Don (Lee Tergesen) and his wife Gwen (Kellie Overbey) — Don being a former boyfriend that Gwen stole away. Catherine has an affair with Don, followed by an experimental life-swap with Gwen. Avery (Virginia Kull), Don and Gwen’s babysitter, contributes pithy commentary and advice.

Gionfriddo’s exquisite dialogue flows like a river. Every line is true to character and sounds natural, yet rides on an undercurrent of humor and insight. Every character is entrenched in his or her own unique situation, replete with insecurities, contradictions and self-deceptions. The family/career motif is always present, but never oppressive. And the recurring references to Schlafly become more and more comforting than confrontational.

With its sparkling script, excellent cast, fluid direction and a marvelous set, “Rapture, Blister, Burn” is far more rapture than blister or burn.

“Rapture, Blister, Burn”
Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater
416 West 42nd Street
$70, single tickets
www.playwrightshorizons.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.