Off Broadway, Silence Is Golden

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Jessica Almasy, Erik Lochtefeld, Sakina Jaffrey, Babak Tafti, Brad Heberlee and Marcia DeBonis in 'Small Mouth Sounds' at Ars Nova.

The spring theater season is traditionally dominated by Broadway openings, as the deadline for Tony awards considerations arrives at the end of April. But Off Broadway doesn’t go into hibernation. Ars Nova, a small theater dedicated to new writing, has a hit on its hands with its latest show, Small Mouth Sounds, written by Bess Wohl and directed by Rachel Chavkin.

The play is set at a weeklong silent spiritual retreat — which would seem to pose a dialogue challenge. New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood answer the question: Do the characters break their vow of silence or is this an unusually quiet play?