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Shining City. Playwright Conor McPherson is a poet of loneliness. In Shining City, a patient, John, visits a therapist, an ex-priest named Ian. John is trying to explain something that can't be explained — that he saw the ghost of his wife after she'd died in a traffic accident, a specific figure in a red coat, half hidden by a door. Throughout this recitation and those that follow, Ian is oddly detached; he doesn't bother with the empathetic prompts therapists usually use, though he is remarkably assiduous in anticipating John's needs, filling a water glass, gesturing toward a seat, proffering Kleenex. After the session, when Ian's girlfriend appears to ask why he's abandoned her and their baby, the gulf between the two is chilling. Eventually, we learn about the silences between John and his doomed wife, as well as something about Ian's own stifled proclivities. McPherson's language constantly attempts to communicate the ineffable, and his ghosts are an extension of this attempt: If there are no words to frame reality, it makes sense to resort to the supernatural. The characters in Shining City speak in stops and starts; they stutter and repeat, and John produces great waterfalls of words. But beneath all this, you hear a melancholy, hypnotic and eternal music. The actors — Josh Hartwell as Ian, Ken Street as John, and Laura Norman as Ian's girlfriend, Neasa — give breath and humanity to these complex and enigmatic characters. Their silences are as eloquent as the words they speak; we don't think of them as acting on stage, but simply as living and being in front of us. Presented by Miners Alley Playhouse through February 15, 1224 Washington Avenue, Golden, 303-935-3044,

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