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'Pitz & Joe' a Play of Self-Discovery

THEATER BEAT

May 05, 1995|SCOTT COLLINS

Dominique Cieri's "Pitz & Joe," at the Hudson Theatre, is an honorable example of recovery drama, the genre in which a serious illness or injury leads characters to make startling discoveries about themselves and others.

Pitz (Bari Hochwald) is a divorced painter who has brought home from an institution her older brother Joe (Tony Campisi, in a convincing, unflashy turn), a onetime junkie who was severely brain-damaged in a motorcycle accident five years before.

This sets up a fertile, if conventionally uplifting, dramatic situation: As Pitz tries to teach her brother to walk, count and go to the bathroom again, the siblings heal a number of old personal wounds and family dysfunctions recounted in flashback.

It's all rather pat. But Cieri (who based this, her first play, on experience with her own disabled brother) still depicts moments of deep tenderness and warm humor between these two lost souls. Under Stephen M. Burdman's low-key direction, the two talented actors earn every tear that predictably flows by final curtain.

\o7 * "Pitz & Joe," Hudson Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. Ends May 14. $17. (213) 660-8587. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

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