Parker is delightful as Becky, whether she is picking apart Max's reactions or the relationship between them that he is out of breath running away from. She has a bravura, go-girl scene, which earned audience applause afterwards, fulminating about men, like Max and otherwise, who have given her a hard time.

As for Providence being the setting, along with Manhattan, it mainly serves for ridiculous comparison. Brown is made gentle fun of, but four disparaging references to Portuguese in about 10 minutes include three about frying fish. That's much more annoying than the playwright not knowing what the Vietnam War term "short-timer" means.

Beautifully acted and directed, this production of Pulitzer finalist Becky Shaw develops more than the familiar study of emotionally distant man and emotionally needy woman we often see on stage. We get to see a stereotype resolve into an archetype.

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