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Why this play got the nod from Steppenwolf escapes me. Andrew Case's nonstory concerns a bereaved couple of considerable means, one of whom copes while the other doesn't. In the course of a sibling's visit to their palace by the sea, tensions are laid bare, hidden dynamics exposed, and the horrible secret is etc, etc. I'd go on, but the specifics of the secret, once revealed, remain cloudy--and since its unveiling just about comprises the "action" rippling the surface of these very still waters, it'd hardly be sporting. The wan shocker capping all the blanched minimalism is laughably absurd, and the play's echoes of better writers--Edward Albee, Adam Rapp, Denis Johnson--only compound a sense of washed-out derivation. And while the clear patterning of brother Andersen on autistic slaughterhouse designer Temple Grandin is certainly intriguing, it's as weightless metaphorically as everything else. Through 3/27: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650. $15.


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