by Steven Cherry · August 18, 2015
Vanishing Point is a finely crafted, difficult play.
A husband has an affair while his wife is dying of an unspecified medical condition. Though she looks quite well, we meet her as she’s about to go home from the hospital for what will apparently be her last days. At home, he confirms her suspicions about the affair, and she offers to move to her sister’s and never say why, never speak about the affair to their families, as long as she gets to meet the girlfriend. (None of this is spoiler material; in fact, it’s all in the show notes.) When she does, it all goes haywire, in predictable and unpredictable ways.
Vanishing Point is carefully crafted, in that the author and the actors truly understand these characters. Especially in the first two scenes, much is conveyed with the way that questions go unanswered, and sometimes half unasked. The acting is superb throughout, notably Chris Morriss as the husband in the first scene between him and his wife; Sarin West as the girlfriend in the fraught meeting with the wife; and Jessica Asch as the wife, in both those scenes and throughout.
It’s a difficult play, both in its subject matter—how is the husband anything but a monster? Yet he is given a modicum of humanity by the end of the play—and in its execution. A mere 45 minutes long, it feels a bit rushed or not quite whole. We go straight from accusation of the affair to confession in brief, back-to-back scenes; similarly, the husband agrees to the meeting between the two women immediately, and it directly follows. Having a scene in between would not only even out the storyline, it would give the girlfriend an opportunity to exercise some choice in the matter, which surely she had.
Notwithstanding, the play ends, as it began, on a perfect note. Perhaps I only wanted Vanishing Point to be longer because I enjoyed it so much.