Indeed, in a scene in which the caddish Frank expertly turns Dolly from smoldering hurt and resentment back into compliant second-class spouse, the fine cast carefully bleed away the comedy from this one-way negotiation to end on a chilling note of humiliation and underlying violence.
Bock, a former Bay Area and now New York playwright best known locally for the 2002 production of his runaway hit Five Flights and the more recent Typographer's Dream, has a seemingly effortless knack for unusual and inventive scenarios whose often painful subject matter comes leavened by a keen and warm brand of humor. In this splendid Bay Area premiere, gracefully directed by Tracy Ward and coproduced by the Shotgun Players and the Encore Theatre Company (both early and steadfast supporters of his work), Bock has fashioned a theatrical experience as well honed, poised, and resonant as the eponymous piece of furniture at its center. *
THE SHAKER CHAIR
Through Jan. 27
Fri.Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; $20$30
1901 Ashby, Berk.
(510) 841-6500, ext. 302