It's Complicated in Rapture, Blister, Burn's Post-Feminist Era

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Beth Dixon (left to right), Virginia Kull and Amy Brenneman in the Playrights Horizons production of 'Rapture, Blister, Burn.' Beth Dixon (left to right), Virginia Kull and Amy Brenneman in the Playrights Horizons production of Rapture, Blister, Burn. (Carol Rosegg)

Playwright Gina Gionfriddo's dark comedy Becky Shaw was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Her first new play since then, Rapture, Blister, Burn, opened Tuesday night Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, in a production starring Amy Brenneman, best known as the star of television's "Private Practice" and "Judging Amy."

Brenneman plays Catherine, the character at the center of this play, who explores women's choices in the post-feminist era.

In a New York Times column, Gionfriddo admits to the similarities between Catherine and Heidi Holland, the title character of playwright Wendy Wasserstein's 1988 play, The Heidi Chronicles, but says they are the result of an "inadvertent homage."

So, is Rapture just re-tracing the steps of Heidi, or is Gionfriddo blazing a new trail? Times theater critic Charles Isherwood offers his review.

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