John Patrick Shanley’s romantic play is set in contemporary Ireland, after a funeral, where two old people talk of death with placid assurance their time is coming, and so what. Meanwhile their offspring, who fought as children, are now locked into an emotional stand-off.
Anthony and Rosemary appear to be in love, yet are ferociously tongue-tied by their Irish culture’s demand for dispassion. Set on Irish farmlands, it’s a heart warming and almost tender love story in the Chekhovian vein. Although we are used to seeing plays about the bashful youth of Ireland, somehow, in 2013, these young lovers seem like throwbacks to a time long before TV and the Internet robbed us of our naïveté. Which perhaps is a good thing.
Under Randall Arney’s smooth direction, the fine actors create an enchanting mood. Dan Donohue is wonderful as a nervous lad with his head in the clouds while digging miserably in the turf, while Jessica Collins is every inch the familiar spunky Irish lass of legend. Jarlath Conroy is a gruff sentimentalist trying to hang on to his fast disappearing manliness, and Robin Pearson Rose is a dry-eyed widow ready to submit to all of life’s travails.
Impressive set and atmosphere (with lots of rain!) created by Anthony T. Fanning, with the aid of lighting by Daniel Ionazzi and sound by Jonathan Burke. Costume Design by David Kay Mickelsen.
In the Gil Cates Theater at the Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Avenue, LA, through December 20. Tickets: 310.208.5454 or www.geffenplayhouse.com.
Photos by Michael Lamont.