The binds that tie

Love's Hollow

By Paula Caplan
Written and directed by Paula Caplan
Sage Theatre Company
Theatre 22
54 W. 22nd St. (532-8887)
Equity Showcase (closes April 15)
Review by Julie Halpern

How well do we really know another person? Love's Hollow, a new play by psychologist, writer, actress and playwright Paula Caplan, tackles this and many other questions in a penetrating drama of a 17-year relationship. Back in 1977, Edie, a promising young psychologist, is having difficulties adjusting to the end of her marriage to an abusive alcoholic and her new life as a single, working mother. She consults Julian, a psychiatrist, and becomes obsessed with him, even after the analysis ends and they become professional colleagues. When Julian leaves his marriage the two begin a long affair. Julian, a quintessential 1970s style "sensitive man" whose gentleness masks a frightening passivity and lack of emotional availabiltiy, promises Edie they will have a life together but never gets around to marrying her. When he marries the glamorous but overbearing Dot, a friend of his ex-wife - because she organizes his life well - Edie is devastated. After years of broken promises and embarrassing encounters with Dot, Edie finally attempts to break free of Julian, whom she finally realizes is a psychotic and a pathological liar.

Caplan's sensitive direction was complemented by a number of exceptional performances by the talented cast. Elizabeth Quincy navigated all the highs and lows of the mercurial Edie, in an unforgettable performance. Doug Brandt was fabulous as the creepy, passive-aggressive Julian. Paula DeMers, as Julian's angry wife Dot, was a powerful presence in an unsympathetic and underwritten role. Liesl Tommy captured the warm-hearted side of Edie's troubled friend Kate, but seemed uncomfortable exploring the darker side of her tortured marriage to a television personality.

Steve Hart created three unique cameos, most notably as Michel, Edie and Julian's insightful, gay confidant. Colleen Cosgrove's performance as Julian's glib but ultimately detached social worker, Angelique, was a sad indictment of how the mentally ill are treated in this society. Gus Smythe in two roles - as Edie's oafish husband Roland and later as a detective - made the most of his brief stage time, and Myles Cohen was quite moving as Edie's adoring father.

Lighting designer Louis Lopardi, whose work is usually exemplary, did his best with the hopeless lighting system at Theatre 22, but it still retained its usual ambience of a parking garage. Rachel Howe's simple set worked fine. Jeffrey T. Manwaring's judicious use of music enhanced the proceedings, and Howe's time-neutral costumes traveled successfully across the decades.

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 2000 Julie Halpern