Love and Rockets
By Fiona Zublin
Orange Flower Water – Didactic Theatre
At Sunday’s performance of Orange Flower Water, two women behind me were arguing the merits of a black box space. One loved its possibilities, its blank slate qualities-the other was annoyed by its limitations of space. Didactic Theatre Company uses their black box expertly. With Orange Flower Water, they have a play and a production filled with misery, presented up close and without reservation.
Craig Wright’s play is well written, agonizingly so, and well acted by the four-member cast. Two couples tragically coincide when David (Frank Britton), married to prim choir teacher Cathy (Dana Edwards) falls in love with sad-eyed Beth (Helen Pafumi), giving her an excuse to leave her boorish husband, Brad (Cesar A. Guadamuz.) This is a drama about adultery, yes, but complicated by love, faith, and responsibility. The actors are wonderfully honest in their portrayals of four people caught in a terrible situation, acting the way people always do.
The space is, as previously mentioned, miniscule. Do not sit in the front row; the actors may step on your feet. But it serves its purpose, enhancing the intimacy of an already intimate piece without detracting from demands of set or movement. These people are confined by their lives, so it follows that they are confined by their playing space. It is not insignificant that half the stage is occupied by a double bed. Director Patrick Crowley has adeptly directed his actors, never crude or maudlin despite the tendency of certain seems to run in those directions.
Wright’s drama is tender and sad, reminding us that people run from unhappy situation to unhappy situation seeking something new, something better. Sometimes they find it.
Orange Flower Water runs through November 12th at the DC Arts Center, 2438 18th St NW, Washington, DC. Thurs – Sat at 7:30. Sunday at 3 pm. Ticket price: $15 – $20.
Call 202-249-0782. www.didactictheatre.com