Scorched earth

Strange Snow

By Stephen Metcalfe
Directed by Melanie Martin Long
Piccolo Productions
Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew
263 West 86th St. (971-2462)
Equity showcase (closes April 21)
Review by Julie Halpern

Strange Snow, Stephen Metcalfe's disturbing tale of two young Vietnam veterans and their harrowing readjustment to civilian life, was given a provocative revival by Piccolo Productions. Under director Melanie Martin Long, this impeccably trained ensemble bravely exposed the raw anger and isolation suffered by veterans and their loved ones.

In Strange Snow, David, once a popular high-school athlete with a promising future, is devastated by his battlefield injuries and by the death of his friend Bobby. After returning from the war, he takes a job as a truck driver and struggles with depression and alcoholism while living with his younger sister Martha, a lovely but shy high-school biology teacher who is as lonely as David. David's friend Megs, a likable redneck, found the war an outlet for his own violent emotions, although he too suffers guilt over Bobby's death. Upon returning from Vietnam, Megs tries to rebuild his life, becoming an auto mechanic and opening his own business. David and Megs reunite for a fishing trip, and Megs and Martha and fall in love. David fears losing Martha, and does everything he can to discourage the romance. The shy Martha blossoms with Megs's attention, and David goes on a destructive rampage, leaving Megs and Martha to seriously consider the ramifications of their relationship.

Michael Bonsignore's Megs held an irresistible combination of boyish charm and unpredictable violence. As David, P.J. Marshall revealed his character's vulnerability and profound disillusionment. Flo Young's emotionally fragile yet resolutely earthbound Martha was remarkable.
The play's production values were almost up to the performance caliber, with Troy Hourie's wonderfully frayed middle-American decor, Randy Glickman's flattering light design, and Melissa Schlactmeyer's appropriate costumes. Sam Tresler's choice of 1970s music was fun and funky, though a greater variety of protest songs would have made it just about perfect.
Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 2
Costumes: 2
Lighting 2/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2001 Adrienne Onofri