Sparse, cruel and transfixing, Dying City is a crisp dissection of the impact on society of the war in Iraq.
Craig is a Harvard graduate student, who gives up his dissertation on Faulkner for military service. The play sways between the past, on Craig’s last night at home with his wife Kelly before he goes to fight in Iraq, and the present, when the widowed Kelly receives a visit from his twin brother Peter. Kelly is a therapist and Peter, an actor who has just walked out on the second half of his play, wants to talk about their mutual loss. Dying City slowly exposes the tensions strung between these relationships, pierced and overshadowed by the enormities of the war in Iraq and 9/11.
Shinn’s uneasy play, which premiered at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in 2006, asks what happens when people and events apparently thousands of miles away affect the heart and soul of a city.