Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West
Subway: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Wellington$32–$42, students $22–$32
Event Info: (773) 281-8463 timelinetheatre.com
Naomi Iizuka’s 2010 drama tries to connect two stories—one in 1877 Japan, the other in present-day Japan—via photography, a link she stretches beyond its breaking point. The sluggish, expository opening scenes present information but don’t really develop the characters; the return of the 19th-century figures at the play’s end feels tacked on. Lisa Portes’s staging includes transitions in which Tiffany Villarin slowly moves across the stage while removing items of clothing. Perhaps it’s meant to be seductive, but it reads as a silly effort to spice up a flagging production.