The play begins with Matthew Friedman (David Beukema) speaking directly to the audience in the intimate space of Artistry's black box theater, setting the scene for the story that he's about to tell, which he says is like a waltz. And it is. I love two-person plays like this that are really just one long unbroken conversation between two people, played out in real time. The two people in this case being Matthew, an immigrant Jew from the big city, and Sally Talley (Chelsie Newhard), a small town girl with big dreams. Their conversation starts out a bit antagonistic. We soon learn they had a brief romance last summer and haven't seen each other in a year. Matt has come to seek out Sally and explain the long absence, and she claims to not want to talk to him, but it's obvious she's happy to see him. What follows is storytelling, reminiscing, and truth-sharing. It turns out each has a mysterious secret from their past that keeps them from getting close to anyone (like eggs afraid to break their shells). Their secrets* match up a little too perfectly to be believed, leading to a quick resolution, but it's a pleasure to watch it all unfold.
|Chelsie Newhard and David Beukema (photo by Hilary Roberts)|
Directed by the always hilarious Angela Timberman, who no doubt injected some of her humor into the show, both David and Chelsie are charming and natural, with an easy chemistry between them. David has always been fun to watch in supporting roles on stages around town, so it's nice to see him take the lead here. And while I've never seen Chelsie onstage before, she made a great first impression and I will be keeping my eye out for her in the future. Head out to Artistry in Bloomington before July 24 to watch this sweet little waltz of a play.
*The 2016-2017 season is already upon us? It's not even Fringe time!
**If you have already seen the show, or don't mind spoilers, click here for a thoughtful essay on Sally's "shameful secret" as it relates to today's world.