In the summer of 1916, a series of freakish and fatal shark attacks paralyzed the Jersey Shore. Three people were attacked in one day in Matawan, no matter that the town is 11 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean. This string followed two other attacks elsewhere on the shore. Further inland, Philadelphia was in the grips of a polio outbreak, and the entire nation was plagued with thoughts of entry into World War I. It was an incredibly unusual moment in American history, and all that tension is conjured up movingly in Matawan, a new play at Athenaeum Theatre Studio Two. As the drama builds, a monster appears, and the play’s protagonists learn that their inner selves might be just as dangerous as any outside threat.
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