Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fool for Love **

Full disclosure: While I have often admired Sam Shepard as an actor, his plays have never appealed to me. The overwrought characters and situations just do not draw me in. The present play, a Williamstown export to Broadway via Manhattan Theatre Club, is no exception. Had it not turned up on my subscription, I never would have seen it. Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda play Eddie and May, a pair of sometime lovers who can’t get along with or without each other. May has tried to start a new life in a small town on the edge of the Mojave Desert, but Eddie has tracked her down and shown up at her rundown motel room to try to rekindle their relationship. Gordon Joseph Weiss is The Old Man, who, although presently unseen by the pair, has played a crucial role in shaping their lives. Tom Pelphrey plays Martin, May’s intended date for the evening, with delightful obtuseness. Ariana and Weiss are fine. Although Rockwell certainly aced his lasso lessons, I wish he displayed more of the charisma that would explain his hold over May. The big secret seemed more like a plot contrivance than an organic development. Dane Laffrey’s set for the motel room goes beyond seedy. Anita Yavich’s costumes are apt. The lighting design by Justin Townsend and the sound design by Ryan Rumery add much to the production. The initial scenes seemed a bit slack, but director Daniel Aukin picks up the pace as the play progresses. I wish I had found it more involving. Running time: 70 minutes, no intermission. It seemed longer.

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