The title refers to Leo's cross country journey by bicycle, starting from his current home in Seattle, through his childhood home in St. Paul, and ending at his grandmother's Greenwich Village apartment. The journey took some unexpected turns, and Leo is suffering from more than just the usual angst of youth. He and his grandma Vera don't know each other well, but he has nowhere else to go. He needs to heal and figure out where to go from here, and Vera helps him do that, just by being there, listening (when she has her hearing aid in), and providing that no-nonsense sage advice of those older and wiser than us. Vera comes to rely on Leo as well and enjoy having him around. They develop a comfortable rapport, but alas, by definition of the relationship the situation can't continue as it is, and once Leo has healed, he's ready to leave the nest again.
|Leo and Vera (Gabriel Murphy and Linda Kelsey,|
photo by Petronella Ytsma)
This is only the second play in the new Andy Boss Stage, so it's fun to continue to explore what it can look like and be. In this case, scenic designer Rick Polenek has transformed it into a very detailed and realistic NYC apartment. The back of the stage is lined with shelves filled with books and tchotchkes, while dated grandmotherly furniture extends into the thrust part of the stage.
4000 Miles is one of those wonderful plays that's not big on action, but that really digs into relationships and characters, through sharp, funny, poignant dialogue, as well as through things left unsaid. Unfortunately I'm catching this one towards the end of its short run; it closes this weekend. But if you have some free time in your holiday schedule this weekend, it's definitely worth a visit.
*I was not able to see 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, now playing on Park Square's main stage, due to scheduling issues, but I saw it two years ago and found it to be quite delightful! Read more of my thoughts here, and buy your tickets for this year's show here.