‘Assassins’ at New York City Center

Written by Jack Jones, David Zippel, Sid Shapiro, Harry Van Dyke, Michael Korie, and Sarah Ruhl Lora Brumsted, of CNN, contributed to this report. It seems like there has been a revival of Jeffrey…

'Assassins' at New York City Center

Written by Jack Jones, David Zippel, Sid Shapiro, Harry Van Dyke, Michael Korie, and Sarah Ruhl

Lora Brumsted, of CNN, contributed to this report.

It seems like there has been a revival of Jeffrey Hatcher’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Assassins” every season for the past 30 years. These revivals always end up being this very same play, adapted by Lee Blessing, Ari Handel, Roger Branston, and Joseph Penhall. How are we to know that all these productions — over two dozen — have treated this piece with the respect it deserves?

This time around we’re treated to Harry Van Dyke’s adaptation of Sarah Ruhl’s genteel, deeply nuanced language. And oh, is that translator anything but brilliant. The play’s many detailed and subtle details are brought out in the exactness of Van Dyke’s translation. He does a brilliant job of, simply put, underscoring the subtleties of the text.

These letters are mainly preserved on a dot-matrix printer at the Marcy order, where assassins were sent off to their deaths. This type of printer, which had not changed in a few decades, was a perfect representation of the order itself. It was not uncommon for the deadliest orders of the Marcy order to order a manuscript printed using that printer. The simple beauty of the Dot-matrix printer is unmistakable, and it’s poignant in this production.

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