Strangers on a Train

Just before the curtain goes up on The Sunset Limited, Cormac McCarthy’s “Novel in Dramatic Form,” a man attempts to kill himself by leaping in front of a train. He’s saved by a stranger, and the pair hole up together to discuss, among other things, the first man’s attempted suicide, the existence of God, and the meaning of life and human suffering.

The men are referred to only as “Black” and “White,” their respective skin colors. Black is an ex-con and a Christian; White is an atheist. In other words, McCarthy’s is an unsubtle allegory, but one that critics, when the play opened at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, seemed to like (despite concern that the piece jumped genres – was it a novel or a play?). Sunset is lately popular with smaller theater companies, although it’s been recently eclipsed by McCarthy’s novel The Road, which won a Pulitzer, and the film adaptation of his No Country for Old Men.

Thursdays-Sundays. Starts: Nov. 28. Continues through Dec. 7, 2008
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela