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Theater Review: Intelligent Drama Blooms in The Autumn Garden

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Anne Gee Byrd, Stephen Caffrey, Jeanie Hackett and Zoe Perry in "The Autumn Garden." -- photo by Ed Krieger.
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Lillian Hellman chose the title of her play The Autumn Garden well. Its inhabitants are generally of an age where they have begun to grade their lives as to success and happiness to see if their story has been a comedy or a tragedy. They haven't settled into winter yet, where thoughts of mortality begin to fill the oncoming horizon, but are still dealing with the messy, impossible concerns of life. The Antaeus Company's excellent production of Garden (the show is double cast—this is a review of the “Idealists” ensemble) captures all of the work's subtlety and complex characterization, along with its constant prickly wit, but most of all it displays a wry affection and empathy for Hellman's characters, who are striving to fix their lives before they feel the chill intimations of the final season's approach.