Using the hotel as a metaphor for reflective distance works in Outside Inn, Andreas Jungwirth's 80-minute one-act. The title pun is also apt. Drop the second "n" from "Inn" and you get the direction in which Jungwirth is attempting to layer his complexities. But the rest of this brief piece is so cluttered with gimmickry and repetition, its story is rendered remote and its four intensely competent actors are nearly irrelevant.
Deconstructing the fairly straightforward, if grisly, narrative of two murders and an adulterous affair does not make the story more interesting or enlightening. There's also a trendy identity-theft subplot left to the sidelines when it should have been more central.
The chief conceit employed by director Melanie Dreyer is having the cast perform the play in both German and English. For us non-German speakers virtually everything is translated, either orally or in the effective but sometimes superfluous video projections of Austin Guest. The dual languages also don't provide any perspective or insight. Nor does setting the play in three locales: modern Germany, Namibia and North America.
In another bizarre choice, all four players (Roger Grunwald, Markus Hirnigel, Jenny Lee Mitchell and Karen Sieber), otherwise suitably attired by Pei-Chi Su, are barefoot throughout. Why? The gimmicks don't end until the play does. To finish off this confounding concoction, the curtain speech is delivered by a German-speaker in labored Spanish, reading from a guidebook, apparently only because the character is now in Guatemala! Again, why?
Presented by International Culture Lab
at 59E59 Theaters, 59 E. 59th St., NYC
Oct. 7-19; Tue.-Fri., 8:15 p.m.; Sat., 2:15 and 8:15 p.m.; Sun., 3:15 p.m.
(212) 279-4200 or www.ticketcentral.com.