After seeing “The Lost Lake” this past weekend at Manhattan Theatre Club, we realized it was the third play that took place in a remote cabin in very recent memory (and the second from MTC).
Cabins make sense for a theatrical setting, because the space itself — which is immediately identifiable, and therefore intimate in its familiarity — takes characters out of their everyday situations and throws them somewhere together that’s fairly isolated. In some way or another, of course, they end up confronting the things they most hoped to escape.
(In a way, theater is making it seem like running off to a cabin would be cheaper than therapy. Anyone renting?)
Because “The Lost Lake” officially opened last night, we thought we’d rank it against the other two of what we’re calling “cabin plays” that are concurrently running in NYC:
Where:Ars Nova (511 W. 54thSt.)
What it’s about:Things get really strange, really fast, when two deceptive travelers crash a highly dysfunctional father-son weekend on the slopes in Colorado.
Purpose of cabin:Nothing is creepier than a really old house tucked into the side of a mountain, several miles from town, in the dead of winter. But mostly, the cabin is there to house the overly inviting, fully functional Jacuzzi.
Should you see it:It’s sold out, but you should try.
Info:Through Nov. 15, www.arsnovanyc.com
2. 'Lost Lake'
Where: Manhattan Theatre Club (130 W. 55th St.)
What it’s about: A mother (Tracie Thoms) rents a lakeside vacation house for a week, coming across various obstacles, superficial and otherwise, that end up bringing her closer than intended to the property’s down-and-out tenant (John Hawkes).
Purpose of cabin: Veronica has rented the lakeside retreat to give her children a break from the city — but it’s the cabin that’s broken, and perhaps the people in it.
Should you see it: If you like thoughtful, engaging stories about surviving our flaws.
Info: Through Dec. 21; www.manhattantheatreclub.com
3. 'The Country House'
Where: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 W. 47th St.)
What it’s about: A famous family of entertainers, summoned by a hard-hearted matriarch (Blythe Danner), gathers in the Berkshires and meets up with a trouble-starting movie star during the annual Williamstown Theater Festival.
Purpose of cabin: A place for the family to convene to mourn the loss of one mother, daughter, sister and wife, while making her presence largely felt nonetheless.
Should you see it: You might feel like you already have, but forgot; save your money.
Info: Through Nov. 23; www.manhattantheatreclub.com