The Brooklyn Paper Pans the Atlantic Yards Play

ayfootprint The Brooklyn Paper Pans the Atlantic Yards PlayCould anyone have hoped to make an interesting play out of Atlantic Yards? On the one hand, it seems to have all the drama and excitement necessary: heroes and villains, race and class issues, a beautiful Brooklyn setting. On the other hand: internminable lawsuits and ULURP.

Fort Greene-based theater company The Civilians appears to have gone with the latter route in its new show, “In the Footprint,” which even includes a song about the city’s land-use review process.

The Brooklyn Paper‘s theater critic found the play, basically a series of monologues drawn from interviews with the key players in the real-life drama, to be confusing and overly wonky–the sort of thing only those well acquainted with the project would understand, and thus would have no reason to see, it would seem.

“In the Footprint” does have its moments, though:

The racial undercurrent of the project is very well dramatized, as the mostly black supporters of the project gain the higher ground against the mostly white newcomers who claimed that “the community” – which community? Theirs, of course – opposed the project. Yet the same plotline also reveals the race game that Ratner himself played, racking up black support with a promise of pro basketball while urging his supporters to pay no attention to the large luxury development behind the curtain.

Still, the ultimate verdict is the play is too unwieldy–and too in favor of developer Bruce Ratner.

Perhaps Norman Oder should take heed as he works on his book.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo