Thanks to all who have enjoyed the first two weeks of this very smart and uplifting comedy. Four shows this week-Thurs-Sunday and then next weekend three more. Hope to see you all there.
“Love Song,” a play about madness and the imagination, love, and the need for connection — not necessarily in that order — opened recently at Stage Center. The Carpenter Square Theatre production of John Kolvenbach’s play struck a good balance among romantic, comic and potentially serious or even tragic elements.
Sean Eckart was outstanding as Beane, a man cut off from the world who lives a half life in his studio apartment, needing only a cup to eat and drink from, and keeping the place half lighted, a kind of “twilight zone.” Like a modern monk, Eckart was just quirky enough in the opening scene, playing games with an overhead light that seemed to respond to the challenge, behaving as if it were an unidentified flying object.
He soon got even funnier and more appealing, whether he was being verbally abused by his argumentative sister and brother-in-law or becoming wildly talkative himself after a female burglar invades his sanctum. Comically nerdy and touching, Eckart was delightful in the offbeat role.
Rachel Morgan gave a good, understated performance as the burglar, whose name is Molly. Pointing a finger at him instead of a real gun and freely criticizing his sequestered lifestyle, Morgan became a kind of alter ego, first stealing his clothes then dressing like him and fulfilling his romantic fantasies.
Nearly stealing the show in humorous terms was Misti Pryor as Joan, who takes out her frustrations on her brother, Beane, and her husband, Harry, with a comic extremity sometimes bordering on cruelty. As hard on herself as she was on others, Pryor also managed to show Joan’s sympathetic side, after Beane’s transformation made her realize there might be an alternative to her high-stress lifestyle.
Brent Weber supplied a fine comic counterpoint as Harry, who gives as good as he gets in his almost combative exchanges with Joan, and begins to enjoy the rub-off possibilities of Beane’s eccentricities himself. Angela Curtis made the most of a bit part as a waitress.
A two-apartment set, designed by Caleb Schnackenberg and Rhonda Clark, was another theatrical asset of Carpenter Square Theatre’s version of the play. Often hilarious but also making us think about the humdrum existence and compromises so many of us take for granted, the production directed by Clark is highly recommended.
— John Brandenburg