BWW Reviews: FOOL FOR LOVE Will Grab You From the Beginning and Leave You Begging for More
FOOL FOR LOVE by Sam Shepard is about romantic obsession, although that may be redundant: Romance IS obsessive. It is feisty, muscular, sexually charged, and often based in fantasy, creating a dream lover where no such person exists. Brought back by popular demand August 24 to September 29 on Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 7:30pm at T.U. Studios in NoHo, be sure to order your tickets by calling 310-366-5505 before they are grabbed up and gone. You won't be disappointed.
Directed with great insight and a sure hand by Gloria Gifford, FOOL FOR LOVE opens in a cheap, sparsely furnished, low-budget motel room on the edge of the Mojave desert where Eddie, a rodeo stuntman, has hunted down May, his "forever connection." She's as drawn to him as he is to her, but if it were that simple, this wouldn't be a Sam Shepard play. And just who is the Old Man sitting in a rocking chair next to a bottle of whiskey at stage left, seemingly out-of-place in the lovers' room?
Shepard's short, relentless depiction of the relationship between May and Eddie who are irresistibly drawn to each other yet unavoidably pulled apart, centers on the immense passionate sexual energy between the two lovers, coupled with their painful, violent, and sickening past. As the combustion builds, it is revealed that the Old Man had led a double life and is the father of both lovers, having abandoned each family for different parts of each child's life.
It is not easy to always tell fact from fiction in their fanciful stories, with each one having a different view of their shared history. Eddie and May became lovers in their high school years, and when their parents finally figured out what had occurred, Eddie's mother shot May's mother. The play centers on the drama of the lovers confrontation rather than a plot with a rising and falling action since the action never falters during the play as Shepard requires it to be performed relentlessly without a break.
It takes two actors with the same immense passion for their artistry to bring these deeply flawed and highly sexed characters realistically to the stage. Chad Doreck and Lauren Plaxco deeply and thoroughly inhabit the unhinged yearning and raw sexuality between Eddie and May with the kind of intensity and deep connection to each other that will grab you from the beginning and leave you begging for more of their story when the play ends.
They're together, then they're apart, they're together, and the fire, obsession and overwhelming need for possession never abates. He is like a disease to her, and Plaxco's tour-de-force tantrum when she realizes how stuck she is in their dismal situation, will grab at your heartstrings. Doreck's pure carnal appeal is breathtaking, right down to the way he lassos a chair and draws it to him. Their bravery in taking on these two challenging roles and bringing them to such artistic heights is not to be missed.
Robert May sits stoically as the Old Man until he acts as the narrator, trying to sort out the conflicting details in the lovers' stories. He often seems to be the voice of reason which neither cares to take to heart, given that he is the root cause of their dilemma.
Zach Killian plays May's innocent new suitor Martin with boyish charm, who shows up to take her to the movies and sets off Eddie's jealous rage, just as the headlights of the Countess' Mercedes outside the motel room send May over the same green-eyed edge. Poor Martin gets stuck in their lies and deception, totally at a loss but endeavoring to do what he can to rescue May from a bad situation.
In the end the two lovers have not reconciled, the Old Man begins to lose himself to his own delusions, and a stranger is left on stage to observe it all.