by Judith Jarosz · November 20, 2014
This two character play by Kate Robin features an unlikely pair of two very different middle aged personality types. Nina (Danielle Slavick) a hyper talkative worrier and Jesse (Stephen Barker Turner) a quiet contemplator meet while watching their respective children at a park in Manhattan. The conversation starts simply enough, with Jesse texting on his cell and not watching his son as well as he might. Nina is more intense about her attentions to her child, and just about everything else, including global warming, processed foods and well … you know the type. This could get pretty irritating after a while, but Nina is so genuinely sincere about her fixations, and has so many detailed statistics to back it up that she is somewhat endearing. Jesse is slowly drawn out by Nina’s passion to help the world and as their relationship develops finds himself driven to make some major life changing decisions.
Jim Simpson’s direction is smooth with some wonderfully comic touches, and the simple white abstract set spattered with black paint, which features a center bench and two rotating units by Kyle Chepulis is put to good use. I found some of the scene changes unnecessarily slow, and the music (beautifully played by pianist Or Matias) and the addition of other people on stage to change props and set can become distracting at times. The lovely lighting design by Brian Aldous goes a long way in keeping the visual interest of the piece, the attractive costumes by Claudia Brown also say subtle things about the characters, and the sound design by Janie Bullard is outstanding.
Robins writes quick snappy dialogue that bounces along and reminds me a bit of Aaron Sorkin’s style. The ending is not a typical one, which is refreshing and both actors are wonderful, handling their roles with adroit depth and sensitivity, injected with adept comic timing. Though we have heard the earth’s dooms day call many times of late, Robin’s take is worth listening to.