Theater archives



Nothing is certain in this world—so the saying goes—but death and taxes. While the latter, generally, is not a cataclysmic event, the former is, and in Imminence, Paul Zimet’s sporadically engaging exploration of a family’s history over several decades, death figures prominently. So, too, do marriage and a host of more routine events. Zimet’s script unfolds in nonlinear fashion, giving fleeting, sometimes repetitive glimpses into the characters’ lives: An old man wakes nightly to take a leak; a mother and daughter drive cross-country, grieving the death of a relative. The action is accompanied by Peter Gordon’s pulsating, melancholy electronic score, Ellen Maddow’s jaunty acoustic music, and Kit Fitzgerald’s ravishing video, in which Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster figures prominently. Footage of the coaster rushing downhill, an earthquake that creates a chasm in the stage floor and rocks the audience (courtesy of sound designer Tim Schellenbaum), and talk of tectonic plates remind us of how precarious our physical world is, putting even life’s most major events in perspective: a welcome, if not always groundbreaking, rumination.