In this witty and engrossing play, two damaged kids meet in the infirmary, she has stomach cramps, he has a cracked skull. So begins a tortuous love story that switches back and forth in time. They meet at years-long intervals, always when he is badly injured, and they deeply bond. She has the magical ability to help him heal, while he has an intense longing for her love.
As this two-hander takes them into deeper disasters and frustrating emotional misses, we are both fascinated and appalled at the catastrophes that unfold. We recognize their need for each other and hope for a resolution but sadly, in the end, playwright Rajiv Joseph leaves us suspended in the midst of a near fatal encounter.
Both Brad Fleischer as Doug, and Jules Willcox as Kayleen, are totally believable and touching whether at eight years old or thirty eight. While their performances are heartbreaking they still provide flashes of humor that alleviate the tension. In fact, under Larissa Kokernot’s sensitive and imaginative direction, they effortlessly transform through non-chronological scenes from troubled children to anguished adults to embattled teens.
Produced by John Perrin Flynn and David Mauer (who also designed the stark adaptable set) with lighting by Dan Weingarten, sound by Colin Wambsgans, and simple but effective costumes by Halei Parker. Photos by John Flynn.
At Rogue Machine Theatre, 5041 W. Pico Blvd., LA through July 14. For tickets: (855) 585-5185 or www.roguemachinetheatre.com.