A Fool for Love is an intensely surreal play written by the renowned actor Sam Shepard based in part off his real life experiences. The play was set in a shabby motel room at dusk. Before the play started the character of the Old Man (Allen Hamilton) was seen sitting very still in a rocking chair to the left most side of the stage lending curiosity as to the purpose of this pre-placement. The play had an eerie feel from the start as the next two characters of May (Jennifer Blagen) and Eddie (Terry Hempleman) seemed to suddenly appear after a short blackout.
The surreal effect of the play grew as time went on. The story took on a “he said, she said” vibe that left the audience questioning what was real, or what was strictly the perception of the characters? The director (Bain Boehlke) made some great choices in what would lend to the play’s disturbing feel. The stage had few set pieces besides a bed, some chairs, and a table. This somewhat bare bones stage gave a cold isolation to the location and allowed an audience member to become immersed into the desolate place the characters existed in. The thundering and the flickering of the lights that happened with every slam in the show definitely helped to illustrate the dreamlike quality of the play.
The acting of the show was spectacular. Hempleman played the character of Eddie with a very real intensity. He played the part with a harshness that fit just right. He kept the storyline moving with the right touches of humor sprinkled in so that one didn’t become too bogged down by the mind boggling material. He brought forth a character that was both sincere and sympathetic, while being hot tempered and controlling at the same time.
Jennifer Blagen was fantastic as May. She played a character that seemed at first a complete basket case, but whom one felt they could identify with as the play went on. Blagen made sure the character was not too reliable, but that she balanced out the sense of reason the character held near the end with the craziness at the beginning. One could really relate to the stress the character contained and that Blagen portrayed with a keen sense.
The one character of the show that seemed to have the most unbiased perspective of the situation was Martin (Jason Peterson). Peterson portrayed a dorky, but very innocent character. He balanced out the harshness of Hempleman’s Eddie and the coarse, crazed character of Hamilton’s Old Man. Peterson provided a relief from the topsy-turvy characters of the play with a sweet, down to earth guy who seemed to say what the audience was thinking. Yet Hamilton was the center to the play’s main story and he made sure put forth an unstable character that summed up the story’s cyclical element and left one with more questions than answers.
Overall the play A Fool for Love was phenomenal. It didn’t have a traditional storyline or an absolute sense of reality, but it made one think. The show was gritty and wielded the shock factor quite well. It was well suited to the Jungle Theater as the audience was kept close to the action. This show was extraordinarily well done and is a must see for anyone who wants to feel a strong sense of emotion from a play while also being left in an awestruck state at the end.
This page contains a single entry by Mark Harvey published on September 29, 2013 9:27 PM.
The Pillowman - Renegade Theater Company was the previous entry in this blog.
Wicked - The Orpheum in Minneapolis is the next entry in this blog.
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