Playwright Ruhl bravely has a man be the strongest feminist of the play, though it is inevitable that he would be the most liberated, intellectually and thereby sexually. (He says that if he had loved fewer women he would be an illustrator; more, and he would be a poet.) Kneeland's intelligent enthusiasm makes Leo a fascinating contrast to these other stifled characters. The heart of this play is Sherba showing us Mrs. Givings bursting with youthful frustration and Morris exemplifying the loving but misdirected Mr. Givings. Yet Kneeland's unfettered but other-directed artist is its soul.

It's small wonder that this play was a 2010 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A graduate of Paula Vogel's MFA playwriting program at Brown, Ruhl accomplishes far more in this, her 10th produced play, than in the well-received but inconsequential Dead Man's Cell Phone two years earlier. Fast-paced historical, sociological, and sexual observations — a very funny trifecta.

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