Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fiction—Serendipity Players—Vancouver, WA

“Achingly Vibrant”

This drama by Steven Dietz and directed by Daniel Hobbs is playing at the Eagles Lodge, 107 E. 7th St. in downtown Vancouver.  It shows through June 29th.  For more information, go to their site at or call 360-834-3588.

The above heading is a quote from the play, as its chief asset is that his language is so rich, akin to a Fitzgerald or T. Williams.  One could probably enjoy reading this play as much as seeing it.  It is a story about writers and the nature of creative writing, or Fiction.

For them, and possibly all of us, doesn’t our fantasy world sometimes get so intertwined with our so-called, real world, that the lines between truth and dreams become blurred?  And what is really “real?”  Is it in the “eye of the beholder?”  Or, as it has been said, “Reality?  I only go as a tourist.”

But this is also a story about Love and Trust…commitment…and the complicated nature of relationships.  In this case, the two writers/lovers, Michael (Tony Broom, Serendipity’s Artistic Director and cofounder) and Linda (Tamara Sorelli) meet in a little café in Paris.  She is a novelist and he, a budding writer.  They trade sarcasms and well-worn lines with each other but, being artists, do speak a language all their own.

And so they marry and write and teach.  He goes to a writers retreat and meets one of the heads of it, Abby (Ia Solis).  She can match wits with him, barb for barb, which inspires him and, evidently, her, too.  He rails against the establishment and the bastardization of books being made into films, pale imitations of the writer’s talent.  She seems stimulated by his passion and so an affair is begun.  Or is it?

He is a writer after all and imagination is sorely needed for penning fiction.  And, like many writers, including his wife, Linda, he keeps a journal.  Years go by and it is discovered that Linda has acquired a fatal brain tumor.  One of her last requests is that he read her journals after she is gone.  But she also wants to read his and since she only has a short time left, it must be now.

They both agree to these terms “but, therein, lies the rub.”  What they both discover about each other, the secret lives, will make them question the very nature of their being.  I can’t tell you more or it would spoil the discoveries an audience must make.

But, it must be said, that true love may be complicated, but it is still, “true love.”  He quotes Dante on this, “Heaven had but one imperfection, the lack of her.”  Or, as Twain has said, when Adam spoke of the death of his Eve, “Wherever she was, there was Eden.”  Amen.

I can speak from personal experience on both of these fronts, as a writer/artist and having lost a “true love.”  As an artist, what you put into your Art is a part of your soul, your essence, your true self.  But Art can be a cruel mistress for, if it finds you worthy, will guide your course.  Your life can be easily fragmented, but instead of the lines blurring between reality and fiction, they expand, become deeper.

And, as for True Love, my own humble contribution was indeed also written at a Writer’s Workshop: 

“In a World of Stories,

You are my Bible.

In a World of Numbers,

You cannot be Divided.

In a World of Places,

You are my Eden!”

I believe that all of us can ascribe to feeling of being, at times, as if a stranger looking into the real world and wondering what all the fuss is about.  A “Stranger in a Strange Land,” perhaps.

In others words, this is a play that can speak to everybody.  Hobbs has done a wonderful job of leading his actors through the mazes of a complicated world, and yet keeping it simple, as the set is, so just the words and the actors shine through.

Broom and Sorelli are perfect for the married writers.  You would think that they actually were married to each other, as they play their scenes smoothly and with an uncanny understanding.  They also underplay their parts and, therefore, become more real for us that way.  Two pros who seem to know their craft very well.

And Solis, as the “other woman,” is a dream as an actor.  She has a focus and a simplicity to her performing that draws you in immediately.  She finds the Truth in her character, a chief asset for any actor, and then displays it for an audience, so that you will believe her, too.  A true talent!

Only sour note was that there seems to be some outside (and/or inside) loud talking/laughing from the bars and/or the streets.  You’d think that people would respect the fact that there is a play going on and to tone it down for a couple of hours.  Perhaps there needs to be signs posted as to “Quiet, Please!  Performance in Session” and/or a monitor to patrol the outside areas of the theatre space.

I recommend this play but it is adult in nature.  If you do choose to go, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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