Not much rankles like large-scale urban development. Take, for instance, some of the more extreme claims regarding the plan for a sports arena at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards: ill-conceived, a waste of taxpayer money, a circumvention of the democratic process. But would anyone go so far as to indict it, or any other development, as a cause of death?
That’s the central accusation in Los Angeles writer Oren Safdie’s play, The Bilbao Effect. The new work is a tragicomic satire in which a Staten Island resident takes an architect to a court of sorts—a hearing in front of fellow American Institute of Architects members—because he blames the aggressive form and metallic skin of a project by the designer for the circumstances leading up to his wife’s suicide.