Beware what you desire - you might get it!

Lovesick: six plays of Desire and Intrigue (Evening A)

The Last Orange Dying (HATE)
By Sharr White
Directed by Grant Neale
Trip's Cinch
By Phyllis Nagy
Directed by Richard Lavel Molson
The Love Talker
By Deborah Pryor
Directed by Donald Gray
The Acting Studio and the Chelsea Rep Lab
29 East 19th Street (228-2700)
Non-union production (closes Feb. 28)
Review by Sourabh Chatt

"Show me what you have," asks the woman in her most sultry voice, cooing to the household help, and thus unfold three tales of desire, intrigue, and the primal need to be wanted. The Acting Studio and the Chelsea Rep Lab's production of Lovesick, a composition of one-acts, deals with people who go to all extremes to find Love, no matter what the consequences.

Sharr White's The Last Orange Dying (HATE) takes place in a lonely ranch some 100 years ago, where Dolly (Nathalie Jaggi), a stranger in a foreign land, longs to find comfort and tenderness in her husband, Talus (Adrian Davey). Unable to break his cold, rigid exterior, Dolly succumbs to the excruciating heat and her desires and finds love in the hands of a younger man, the household help Horse Boy (Jay Vaides). Things take a tragic turn for the worse when Talus learns of the affair, but ultimately it is Dolly who has the last laugh as she is finally able to escape the shackles of her entrapped world. Director Grant Neale, with technical assistance from Jeff Duer, did a fabulous job in staging the play, and although the actors' erratic movements sometimes served as a distraction, the talented cast did a commendable job in bringing the story alive.

Trip's Cinch by Phyllis Nagy is the tale of a social researcher, Val Greco (Deborah Floray), whose current book dealing with the "virtues of dicks" involves the alleged rape case of Benjamin Trip (brilliantly played by David Sheronas). Greco's attempts to delve into the psyche of Trip, a wealthy businessman, and Lucy Parks (Stefania Schramm), a school crossing guard and the alleged victim, prove futile as she is no match for their cunning wit. The courtship scene where the alleged incident takes place steals the show, as Lucy, with her no-nonsense charm. falls prey to the smooth, confident ways of Trip. Director Richard Lavel Molson and his splendid group of actors made this well-written play about such a serious subject matter a joy to watch.

The Love Talker by Deborah Pryor was the best acted of the three plays and culminated the night with good direction from Donald Gray. Gowdie Blackmun (an excellent Marisa O'Brien) lives in an old house in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia with her older sister Bun Blackmun (Jennifer Clark, the best performance of the night). It's the longest day of the year, and Bun has just caught her sister venturing into the wrong part of town. However, unable to resist her own curious instincts and the temptations of the Love Talker (Andrew Luther), Gowdie crosses over to the world of "tricks and glamour" against her sister's strict wishes. Bun goes to all extremes to prevent her sister from falling victim to the Love Talker and the Red Head (Kate Glass), but to no avail, as the play erupts into high drama and tragedy.

Evening A of Lovesick combined good acting and directing with great writing. It was slightly too long (half the audience left before the last piece), but nonetheless, it was a great evening of theatre.

Box Score:

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

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Copyright 1999 Sourabh Chatt