When a door slams in Round House Theatre’s production of Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, the slam carries. Noises linger with an eerie resonance giving the impression that the entire play takes place underwater. In fact, with the play’s action confined to a motel room, the characters may as well be locked in an airtight chamber drifting into unseen depths. On the way, Fool for Love peaks out from behind dusty blinds to explore the murk of male and female love as well a family history’s leviathan grip.
Fool for Love opens to the slow moan of a Dobro note. The lights go up to reveal a picture of Southwest decay: a cross-sectioned motel room with faded wallpaper and an unmade bed, the concrete on the building’s sides rusting in an orange rash.
A man in a cowboy hat eyes the woman slumped against the foot of the bed with a drape of red hair covering her downturned face. Director Ryan Rillete shuts the audience up from the outset letting them know that around here things are damn bleak.
Eddie, played by an appropriately cocksure Thomas Keegan, has driven over 2,000 miles to visit his sometimes lover May, who Katie Debuys marathons with an exhausting emotion. Their cyclical relationship plays out in miniature as Eddie charms his way back into May’s arms with a few smooth moves, like lassoing the corner posts of her bedframe, only for May to remember one of Eddie’s infidelities and shove him out of her life violently.
If Eddie and May exist in a pressurized capsule sinking into their own abyss, an old man observing their routine serves as the play’s release valve. Doors slam, people scream and bodies hit the floor- all the while the Old Man in a rocking chair sits outside the room looking on. After the play’s more heated episodes, the lights dim and the Old Man talks. His monologues comment little on the preceding action, often drifting into reverie. Marty Lodge plays the Old Man as a well-graveled sage, giving his words a resignation that regards the turmoil of May and Eddie’s lives as something that was settled long ago.
FOOL FOR LOVE
Closes September 27, 2014
Round House Theatre – Bethesda
4545 East-West Highway
Tuesday thru Sunday
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As the play progresses and more of May and Eddie’s story unfolds, however, the Old Man becomes drawn into their narrative and damningly linked with their misery.
Fool for Love is a play in which its characters don’t hear each other. As the Old Man comments about an affair he had, It was the same love but split in two, May and Eddie represent that divided love trying to reunite but keep repealing each other at every turn because of a shared, forbidden charge.The devastations that these circumstances bring have a deep effect on those participating and witnessing, both within the play and without. When the cast of Fool for Love came back for their curtain call, they looked visibly shaken, and the audience greeted them with eager release.
Fool for Love by Sam Shepard . Directed by Ryan Rilette . Featuring Katie deBuys, Tim Getman, Thomas Keegan, and Marty Lodge . Scenic and costume design: Meghan Raham . Lighting design: Daniel MacLean Wagner . Sound design: Eric Shimelonis . Props master: Andrea Moore . Stage manager: Bekah Wachenfeld . Produced by Round House Theatre . Reviewed by Richard Barry.
Closes Sept 27
Susan Berlin . Talkin’Broadway a showcase for two fine actors in the central roles.
Heather Nadolny . BroadwayWorld a collaboration that truly works
Nelson Pressley . Washington Post a twisted cowboy romance, 75 minutes of “Git out!” and “Don’t go!”
David Siegel . DCMetroTheaterArts full of the stickiness of love and repulsion