Closer is a play that straddles the line between modernity and post-modernity. The audience must take an active hand in constructing the narrative, disrupting the stability of their perceptions. The minimal sets and unindicated time gaps between scenes disrupt the unity of the play, allowing it to "feel compressed".
Questions of morality are raised—the assumption that the absolute truth is healthy for relationships is challenged. Romantic notions of love and sex bringing people closer are turned on their heads. The author seems to be concerned also with the element of new forms of communication changing the way we relate—how media like Internet and photography misleads, paints false pictures, and enables people to project their own expectations and lies onto each other. Though the plot is comprehensible, it requires attention to fill in the gaps left by the narrative—as if a linear, logical chronology were only sketched in half way. At times two different but related scenes are simultaneously presented, breaking the linear flow—like when the two couples break apart in act two, scene six, or when Anna must deal with Dan and Larry both at once in act two, scene eight.
The texture of the characters is distorted; though their language is real, the characters are sketches. The setting is unfamiliar as well, due to the minimal sets and the stripped nature of the language. The play is written as representational—evocative of real happenings, the lack of physical detail is meant to balance the physical excesses, and integrate an audience participation that nonetheless is distanced by the constant fourth wall. Places are evoked, not shown—such as the Postman's Park which ties together the beginning of the play with the end. The language used is very vernacular and brutal, but integrated into a tightly choreographed formal style, in which the scenes build up toward a climax and wind down again in approximately reversed order.
Marber described the play's "construction" in an October 1999 interview:
The idea was always to create something that has a formal beauty into which you could shove all this anger and fury. I hoped the dramatic power of the play would rest on that tension between elegant structure (the underlying plan is that you see the first and last meeting of every couple in the play) and inelegant emotion.