Compelling and complex 'Two Rooms' focuses on hostage-taking and international incident-making

ern countries, so Lainie's silence also keeps Michael's story from generating negative publicity that would be the bane of the presidential administration.
So whose best interest does Ellen really have in mind?

Enter Walker, who has no problem making the government feel uncomfortable. In fact, that's his job, some would say. He implores Lainie for her story, convincing her that keeping quiet removes any incentive for the government to press for Michael's release. But does Walker really care about Lainie and Michael, or is he exploiting them for a story with Pulitzer Prize potential?

The cast achieves consistently effective performances. Montgomery carries much of the play's emotional weight. Foresee, playing the hostage in a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, is blindfolded and handcuffed in several scenes, and gives a fine performance.

Carol Klages directs. The Civic Center Music Hall's CitySpace can prove a tricky venue, but it is excellent for a work such as "Two Rooms." The audience feels intimately present in the two areas with the characters. In some scenes, the actors sit on the stage floor, which creates bad sight lines for some of the audience. Richard Nelson's set design consists of an empty, cream-colored stage with few props; it is a blank, but highly effective canvas.

While not exactly groundbreaking, "Two Rooms," which was written in 1988, retains an unfortunate relevance today. "?Larry Laneer

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