The story centers on ex-lovers Eddie and May. After years of suffering in their tumultuous relationship, May has run away and taken up residence in a seedy motel. Eddie drives thousands of miles to find her and convince her to come back to him. She refuses, but can't bear for him to leave either. There's so much more to their relationship that unfolds over the hour. In the midst of it, May's date Martin shows up to take her to the movies, bringing the intensity to new heights. And through it all, an "old man" is sitting in a rocking chair on the side of the stage (and has in fact been sitting there since the theater doors opened), sometime telling stories, sometimes interjecting or commenting, even entering the action. There's a harsh realism to the play, even surrealism with this character who's sort of there, but not really. And there is a sort of beauty. At one point, Eddie tells a long story about a walk through town with his father in language that is beautiful, but in a stark, gritty, Larry McMurtry kind of way.
This four-person cast is totally in the moment and fully invested in their characters. Jennifer Blagen gives a fearless performance as May, swinging from one emotion to the next, about to crawl out of her skin. Terry Hempleman is intense and riveting as Eddie. Jason Peterson perfectly plays the nervousness and uncertainty of poor Martin, who doesn't know what he's gotten himself into. And Allen Hamilton is a little too creepy as that "old man" sitting just beyond the story but at the very center of it.
|Jennifer Blagen, Allen Hamilton, and Terry Hempleman|
This is a play I could definitely see again; it's just so full. (If only I weren't fully booked with theater for the next several weeks.) Sharply written, wonderfully acted, with detailed perfection in all elements of the production, it's a very rich hour of theater.