Stephen in The Shadow Box

Michael Cristofer’s “The Shadow Box” does not shower new insights on theatergoers who have already seen it. Prodded by an interviewer, the play’s three dying patients and their families forthrightly express their feelings (and Cristofer’s, too, all too obviously) about what it all means. There isn’t much for the audience to figure out, especially the second or fourth time around.

Knowing this, those who have never seen the play should make sure that their first experience of it is top-notch. They’ll get what they’re looking for at Theatre East.

Stewart Moss’ staging is expertly cast and thoughtfully performed. As a crotchety old soul who might be at home in Beckettland, Marie Windsor is an especially chilling presence.

Stephen Nichols gets my vote for pulling off the show’s most moving breakdown.

There aren’t many laughs, but in some productions those laughs are forced — they’re not missed here.

Jack Colvin’s abstract green backdrop reminds us we’re in the country, and J. Kent Inasy’s lights are valuable guides to our understanding of the play’s shifting spaces. The only sore thumb is the misspelling of the playwright’s name in the program.