Anders Cato directs a tepid production of Lars Norén's anti-war play.
The show is set in a war-ravaged country, where a woman identified only as Mother (Rosalyn Coleman) struggles to raise her daughters Beenina (Ngozi Anyanwu) and Semira (Flora Diaz). After the girls' also unnamed father (Laith Nakli) unexpectedly returns after being missing many years, the family must adjust to the way things are now. The father is blind, the teenage Beenina works as a prostitute, and the mother has been having an affair with her husband's brother, Ivan (Alok Tewari). They all long for escape from their miserable lives, but no relief seems to be forthcoming.
The exact location of the play and the reasons for the war are intentionally never specified, so that the audience can slot in any number of global conflicts within the last century that might fit the bill. The family depicted within War is an interracial one, but since no mention is made of this fact, it's possible that this is merely a result of color-blind casting. But again, individual audience members can project what meaning they will onto such production choices.
Told in a series of short scenes punctuated by blackouts, the play never builds up much momentum. The character interactions seem forced and often unconvincing. There are some attempts at dark humor -- such as a revelation about what happened to the family dog -- that are mildly amusing, but otherwise the production is rather drearily presented.
Coleman manages to endow her portrayal with appropriate grit and an undercurrent of anger. Anyanwu also impresses with a heartfelt monologue about what she really thinks about her job and her life. On the downside, the adult Diaz overplays the youthfulness of her 12-year-old character to annoying effect, Nakli's acting seems as directionless as his character, and Tewari appears oddly detached from any emotions that Ivan is supposedly feeling.