Theater: Oedipus Hex

Natural Affection, by William Inge, has the roiling, quivering hysteria of a child's uncontrollable tantrum. Cruel words and raw emotions splinter against the walls of a three-room Chicago apartment, and the cutting fragments ricochet, wounding lives and severing loves. Like a tantrum, Natural Affection moves in a circular frenzy of grievance; neither the play's characters nor the play itself can be reasoned with, or placated, or ignored, or resolved. Brief calms are illusory, used chiefly to gulp a shot of bourbon and flog the emotions back up to the pitch of violence. The play might like to be a cry from...

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