Waiting for Take two
"Take," by two award-winning Fringe Festival veterans, feels like an unfinished version of a potentially excellent play about a woman driven to extremes when she finds out her husband is gay.
By JOSHUA TANZER
"Take" is the story of a woman who moved to New York from the insular Midwest with her boyfriend, later husband, Trevor. She temped. They lived in a studio. Life was good. "We had friends John, Douglas, Alfred," the woman recounts. "What is important is that they were our friends. They belonged to Trevor and me."
Or so she thought. But Trevor's been enjoying his New York freedom in a way she would never have expected by sleeping with John, Douglas, Alfred, and who knows how many others. Once she learns about her husband's secret life, the couple is set on a terrible spiral of anger and anguish, which leads to us hearing the woman's story in an airport bar.|
"Take" is the creation of two members of the team responsible for "Never Swim Alone" and"See Bob Run," both award-winning hits at the last two Fringe Festivals, so we're entitled to have high expectations for this show. This new play is a strong effort in some ways, but those expectations are not entirely fulfilled.
Timothy P. Jones, who directed the two earlier Daniel MacIvor plays, is both writer and director of "Take," and his script feels incomplete. (At 40 minutes it has room to grow, too.) The narrative is short on the kind of details and self-examination that would give meaning to the events that are ultimately revealed. The husband is almost a complete cipher and the wife doesn't tell enough about her own inner turmoil to indicate the destructive direction she's headed in.
It's almost unfair to compare "Take" with MacIvor's "See Bob Run," but from the moment that actress Susan O'Connor enters with a pink suitcase just as in the earlier play there are certain obvious echoes, including the shocking conclusion. MacIvor is masterful at hinting without telling, and that's a quality missing from "Take," in which the pattern is state-and-comment rather than hint-and-reveal. It's not as effective, especially when the comments do little but note how bad the revealed information is.
But "Take" is a good start toward a great play. Jones offers some really sharp writing in places, like the woman's angry outburst at her husband while she divides the books and the CDs in preparation for the big breakup. "This book is his, this book is mine" gives way to "The West Village is yours, obviously. The 1, 2 and 3 lines we share. The Upper West Side is yours everything else is mine!"
Lastly, actress Susan O'Connor outstanding in the earlier MacIvor plays is also terrific here. Her small frame, girlish voice and innocent charm mask the sinister interior that is stunningly revealed in her characters. Given a subtly improved script, she could make "Take" a powerful and surprising work.
|AUGUST 12, 2001|
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