Summer Shorts at 59E59 Theaters
Searching for Love
By: Rachel de Aragon - Aug 11, 2018
Humor and pathos are gracefully layered in three shorts; The Plot by Claire Zajdel, Ibis by Eric Lane and Sparing Partner by Neil Labute. Crisply written and acted, all three plays convey a poignant sense of the parallel truths that inform our desire to love and be loved. Through religion, films, and the ever possible aspirations of our childhood remembrances, we create parallel truths that the characters ask us to indulge.
The Plot explores the conflicted love of a brother, Tyler [Jake Robinson] and sister, Francine [Molly Groome] at their mother's grave site. Francine is a successful lawyer; Tyler, a directionless bohemian. Each lives the vision of freedom from, and compliance with, what mother has expected them to be.
Has mother really perished or is she merely seducing their guilt and desire to please an insatiable maternal demand? Mother has in fact reserved a plot for each of her children beside hers. A touch of dark humor and a sharply delivered take on the resolution of sibling rivalries in the face of the death of the parent for whose love they contend ties The Plot together. Director James Rees moves us through the eerie cemetery scene, a creatively conceived projection design by Joshua Langman, with a feisty sense of contemporary pacing.
Ibis, directed by Terry Berliner, is a multi-generational journey which brings us full circle in the quest for a father who has forgotten his child. Tyronne [Deandre Devon], in search of the father he last saw when age seven, hires a Private Investigator, a young woman, Sam Spade [Lindsay Broad]. They share the story of a lost childhood. Her world and words are decorated with vintage film references and stark fairy tale imagery.
Red-Riding Hood has been eaten by the wolf. His inner child is buried in number codes and quantified reality. Each has discovered what a hurt child can use to get through the night. By the quirk of winning the lottery, Tyrone's missing father, Victor, [Harold Surratt] surfaces, bringing the actuality of the less than perfect parent to center stage.
Victor is beautifully portrayed by Surratt. His harshness, regrets and ultimate revelation of his own lost father is well-paced, leaving the audience transfixed by his ecstatic description of a flock of Ibises he saw as a child on the trip to Mexico with his own father. A father who left and did not return. Spade has decided to forgive the wolf who is now old and gray and to thereby remove him from hurting her. Tyrone and we who now see Victor's inner hurt may be inclined to forgive as well.
Sparing Partner directed by J.J. Kandel is a simply staged incident in the life of Man [Keilyn Durrel Jones] and Woman [Joanna Christie]. Co-workers , they enjoy eating lunch in the park and playing a sparing game; naming the movie appearances of famous co-stars. They each have spent much of their time watching movies and their knowledge of film trivia is astounding-- as each tries to playfully win the contest. They clearly not only enjoy the game-- but appreciate the expertise of the other. We are carried away with their delight in the game, and their delight delights us.
Fast moving repartee keeps the sparing edgy. Their game is both romantic and addictive. Is this friendship destined to be more? Or is it simply a way that permits Man to remain in an unhappy marriage? She asks--- and he does not know. At the end, we guess.
Fragile human moments are portrayed with delicacy and freshness in each piece. We are on familiar ground, but our lenses are sharpened and tuned differently. It makes for a moving and entertaining evening at 59E59 Theatres, presented by Throughline Artists.