The entire play takes place at a camping site on a lake somewhere, so charmingly depicted by Kit Mayer's wide open set with trees, a firepit, and tents that it makes me want to go camping. I'm not a person who usually notices sound design, but I certainly did here as Jacob M. Davis' 360 sound design makes great use of the thrust space and has sound coming from all directions. Several times I turned to look for the noisy neighbor, or the kids playing in the lake, that sound like they were right out in the lobby. Into this world come Henry and Alice, the former eager to test his mettle against the elements, the latter bringing pillows she bought on sale at Pottery Barn. Henry has recently lost his job, which Alice prefers to call "early retirement," an opportunity for them to spend time together. But that illusion soon fades as Alice's free spirit sister Diana arrives and reality sets in.
|Henry and Alice argue over the fire while Diana looks on
(John Middleton, Melanie Wehrmacher, and
Carolyn Pool, photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)
|Alice and Henry in their "portable cottage" (Carolyn Pool and
John Middleton, photo by Petronella J. Ytsma)
Fortunately Alice's long spiel about all the luxuries she has to give up (which I referred to earlier) is followed by a monologue that rings much more true. When told she'll have to "get a job" now, she assures her husband and sister that she has a job, and has in fact been working since she was 15, paying her way through college, putting a down payment on their first house, raising three children, supporting Henry as he pursued his career, and now taking care of her aging father. This spot on pronouncement of the work that women do and the little value it receives is the best scene in the play, brilliantly written by playwright Michele Rimi and brilliantly delivered by Carolyn.
Henry and Alice: Into the Wild is funny and entertaining with a great cast, but it might have played a little better in 2015 than it does in 2017, when everything seems more dire. Continuing through October 22.