Diana (Sun Mee Chomet) and Max (Sherwin Resurreccion) meet when they're 9 years old, and their father and mother begin a messy affair that eventually turns into a messy marriage. But we meet Di and Max when they're 38, at the end of the story. Or rather, the end of the story that's told in these 90 or so minutes, because this is one of those plays where you imagine the story continues after the play ends. Playwright Carla Ching has written Di and Max's relationship as a series of scenes spanning the years between 9 and 38, arranged in a seemingly random order, from age 38, to age 9, to 24, to 15, and so on. For my fellow linear thinkers, the scenes are listed in the program so you can follow along and know where we are in time. But it's not necessary; the ages are revealed on the set, and Sun Mee and Sherwin expertly and specifically portray every age, from angsty teens, to dramatic 20-somethings, to wisened but still lost 30-somethings, and everything in between.
|Max (Sherwin Resurreccion) and Diana (Sun Mee Chomet)
unpack their lives (photo by Ryan Melling)
The in-the-round stage at the Rarig Center Arena (full of memories from the recent Minnesota Fringe Festival) is littered with cardboard boxes. Or that's what it looks like at first, until boxes begin to be opened to reveal props and clothing, and to be used as tables, chairs, and a bar. Director Randy Reyes notes that the boxes represent "collecting things through a lifetime while moving from one place to another, through various relationships." The effect is a bit messy, not unlike the play, not unlike life. I wish the scene transitions were a little less lengthy, but I didn't mind it so much, because it's kind of fun watching actors change onstage, mumbling to themselves as the prepare for the next scene, transitioning from one age of the character to a completely different age. And the clothing changes are no simple adding of a hat or a jacket, but complete wardrobe changes, from winter coats to wedding dresses, adding more detail to who these characters are and where they are in their lives (set design by Sarah Brandner, costume design by Aaron Chvatal).
Two Kids (another play that came through The Playwrights' Center) is premiering in L.A. and in Minneapolis, as part of Mu's 25th Anniversary Season. It's playing only through next weekend and the Arena is small, but there are multiple shows during the week so you really have no excuse not to go see this fantastic new play (more info here).