Review: 4615 Theatre Company Sets Sail with A DELICATE SHIP

By: Dec. 10, 2023
Review: 4615 Theatre Company Sets Sail with A DELICATE SHIP

After announcing their sunset earlier this year, 4615 Theatre Company has surprised DC audiences this month with a final show: an excellent production of Anna Ziegler’s play A Delicate Ship. 

Set in a Brooklyn apartment on Christmas Eve, Sarah (Mary Myers) and Sam (Stephen Russell Murray), a new couple giddy with blossoming love, are interrupted by a knock on the door. When Sarah opens it to let in her childhood best friend Nate (Jordan Friend), the three characters, forming a sort of love triangle, are suddenly bound together on this night of monumental change. As the trio enact and reenact the night’s events, they break the fourth wall to pull themselves and the audience into pockets of memories that exist before and after that Christmas Eve. It’s a fascinating narrative device that calls into question whether anyone truly knows another, let alone their own self. 

“What if we just hadn’t opened the door?” Sarah asks the audience. “ I sometimes get trapped in the loop of that question.” Nate, too, is caught in a loop of possibility. Certain that his happiest days have passed, he tries to recreate his childhood intimacy with Sarah, ultimately pushing her farther away. Sarah, attempting to maintain her blooming relationship with Sam as well as her own emotional stability, tries desperately to rein in the unraveling Nate. But as Nate makes his obsessions clear, they all must decide who they are and what they truly want. Careening back and forth in time, the play barrels toward a heart-wrenching end.

Ziegler’s script is quick-moving and poetic, her characters smart and emotionally volatile, requiring A Delicate Ship’s actors to be “on” at all times. Myers, Friend, and Russell Murray meet this challenge with ease, the demanding dialogue seeming to come organically from each. In their hands, Sarah, Nate, and Sam are vibrant with vulnerability, frustration, and desperation. They perfectly inhabit Studio 4615 as well, its 750 square feet arranged by Andrés Poch into a simple, book-cluttered apartment. With an audience that maxes out at 30 people, organized in a half-moon around the set, the play’s action feels vivid and immediate. 

This is a wonderful play for 4615 to choose as their final production: a story that contends with both the grief and hope that accompany anyone on the precipice of great change. Cheers to all involved in this production of A Delicate Ship. It’s wonderful. A perfect show to both say goodbye and welcome new beginnings. 

A Delicate Ship will run through December 23rd. Don’t miss your last chance to see 4615 Theatre Company. All tickets are priced pay-what-you-can. Run time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Purchase tickets here.

Photo Credit: Charlotte La Nasa