I don’t have much experience on the dating scene. Let me be totally honest, I haven’t been on too many dates myself. I think the last real date I went on was back in my late teens, maybe my early twenties. I wasn’t the kind of guy who did that sort of thing on a regular basis. I’ve been with the same woman since my mid-twenties, we were married when I was twenty-eight, and that’s really all there is to any of that. I’m not too much of a romantic, so there’s a bit of a challenge for me to identify with the two main protagonists in the latest play at Paper Wing Fremont- but I do remember enough about dating to know just how awkward and uncomfortable it can be.
That’s the main premise of the show- a young couple meet for the first time and go on a date after some on-line interaction. He’s a co-dependent control freak with a history of stalking and she’s a borderline schizophrenic with issues of depression and self-abuse. HILARITY! No, seriously, the show is uncomfortably hilarious and plays to the issues of the severely scarred potential lovebirds with moments of genuine affection interlaced with sudden desperation, fear, and honest introspection. The two characters talk about their lives, their interests, their expectations, and reveal parts of themselves that are both beautiful and ugly.
Director Kate Faber steps into the role of Susan in what I’ve heard was the last minute, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell from the performance I saw. She adjusts to the choreography of expressive dancing, captures the manic confusion of a personality disorder in a way that’s actually honest and compassionate while maintaining a good sense of comedic timing. And actor Richard Westbrook matches her moves and intensity with an awkward possessiveness that straddles a fine line between endearingly comedic and blatantly creepy-scary obsession.
I liked the play. I thought it was a funny character study during a moment in the lives of two very unstable people. There’s enough here left open to audience perception and we’re only privy to the single date on this single night, but this is what theater should be about anyone… an exploration of the human the experience and what different people can experience.
4 out of 5.