Friday, October 03, 2008

A Body of Water

Photo/James Leynse

If you somehow managed to condense Lost into a two-person play, added a third character to twist the plot in a Memento-type fashion, and then stripped out the drama, you'd have Lee Blessing's aimless new play, A Body of Water. Normally, plays either suffer from characters in search of a plot, or a plot in search of characters: here, Blessing suffers both simultaneously, for his characters are in search of their character, and that, in effect, is the plot. The play uses cheap narrative tricks to keep us as confused as Moss (Michael Cristofer) and Avis (Christine Lahti), and Maria Mileaf confuses directing with entertaining, which is perhaps why Laura Odeh is the most enjoyable thing about the show: her character doesn't bother trying to make sense. Water's fine, and a liquid plot has suspenseful purposes, but without any meat--or nutrients--in the show's diet, it just trickles interminably on. Lesson learned: when you're stuck going down shit creek without a paddle, the last thing you want is a clown juggling in the backseat.

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