BWW Reviews: PRC Brings New Work to the Triangle with LOVE ALONE
PlayMakers Repertory Company is providing audiences with a season full of variety - this season continues to feature works from various time periods, of various themes, and of many genres. Their current production, Love Alone, is a very recent work by playwright Deborah Salem Smith.
Love Alone is a drama dealing with the medical and legal systems in America, which also touches on themes of family, responsibility, and forgiveness. After a medical procedure goes tragically wrong - "bad outcome" in medical terms - a patient's family must decide how to proceed. Likewise, a doctor must come to terms with herself, her professional judgment, and her own family situation. Though neither the deceased patient nor the primary doctor are ever present onstage, they are essential characters throughout. The play tackles other issues as well, such as LGBT rights and legal standing of same-sex couples, the often overly litigious nature of our society, and how people confront their own shortcomings while still trying to participate in the meaningful relationships of their lives.
Smith's script flows well through the story, but often feels like it was meant to be a screenplay instead - the visceral nature of live theater isn't necessary to the telling of this story. Nonetheless, the major strength of the writing is that it is clear that Smith did her research. This is a work that is dedicated to being loyal to both sides of an argument, to understanding and conveying both legal and medical realities, and to being accurate. That attention to detail does not go unnoticed.
The set was designed by Lee Savage with the utmost attention to detail, as the now-carpeted space transforms easily from hospital waiting room to living room and back throughout the evening. The way it represents multiple spaces while still being specific and clear makes the show flow smoothly. There are several times when the action is happening in two places simultaneously, and the set even manages to make that seem simple and natural. PlayMakers Rep always goes above and beyond when it comes to set design and construction - while a hospital waiting room and a few living rooms may seem simple, the team at PlayMakers was just as devoted to every detail as always.
Those who enjoy medical or legal dramas are ideal audience members for this show, though it has elements that will appeal to plenty of other folks as well. It is always a privilege to see new work, and this regional premier of Love Alone is no exception.
Love Alone runs through March 16. For tickets and more information, visit www.playmakersrep.org.
Pictured: Julia Gibson, Arielle Yoder; photo by Jon Gardiner.