Only one, actually
TWO WITH TROUBLES
Ice Floes written by Kate McLeod
Felons and Family written by Gerry Sheridan
Directed by Kevin Horne
Midtown International Theatre Festival (www.midtownfestival.org for showtimes)
Where Eagles Dare Theatre,
Equity Showcase (closed
Review by Michael D. Jackson
Two With Troubles, a pair of one acts that is disparaging in quality from one to the other, opens with Ice Floes by Kate McLeod. Eunice (Renata Hinrichs) arrives, suitcase dragging behind her, at a remote Antarctic spot that seems to be occupied by Roger (Martin Treat). She is escaping from Lord knows what and decides that she wants to inhabit the icy dock alone. Roger is not willing to give it up, for he too is feebly searching for the meaning of life in isolation, and anyway, he got there first. Since the way to a man’s heart is food, Eunice seduces Roger by feeding him slices of apple dipped in peanut butter. He goes for it, hook, line and sinker, until she tricks him out of his icy corner. This is the plot of the slim one act play, but the point of it is up for grabs. As strong and as dedicated to the material as the two actors were, the meager meal was perplexing and difficult to follow. We don’t even get a try at the meaning of life.
Following the play was an unorganized and cumbersome set change, which the two directors of the presentation should have choreographed for a smooth transition into the next act.
The second play, Felons and Family, is more satisfying by
leaps and bounds. Betsy (Maggie Low),
a well educated actress, has a sister in mental health court. Not knowing what
to expect from this new idea of mental health court, she befriends William (Rob Morgan), who is waiting his turn to
see the judge. William gives us a little lesson in what it means to be in
mental health court. The play is educational and makes for a nice encapsulated
character study between the two different worlds for Betsy and William. Another
person waiting to see the judge is a misguided victim called Dawn (Claire Deming). Once William educates
Betsy on the ins and outs of mental health court, Betsy attempts to give the
dense Dawn advice on what to say to the judge so that she won’t end up in jail
for a year. Morgan sets the tone for the play with his warm, easy going
personality giving the play a natural realism. Low plays off him well and the
duet scene has a friendly hopefulness to it.
Comparing the two plays together, it is amazing how a simple idea for a play can be either foggy and meaningless or clear and illuminating. Two With Troubles is actually one with troubles and one with no troubles at all succeeding as satisfying theatre.
Writing (Ice Floes): 1
Writing (Felons and Family): 2
Copyright 2007 Michael D. Jackson
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