Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Correspondent

A door opens and closes, and two people walk into an expensive but messy apartment. The man, Philip (Thomas Jay Ryan), is in his 50s, white, well-off--the owner of the apartment. The woman, Mirabel (Heather Alicia Simms), is African-American, much younger, wearing an old jacket and carrying a backpack. They clearly do not know each other well. It is hard to guess what their relationship might be. And it's even harder to accept what it is.

Thomas Jay Ryan
Photo: Joan Marcus
Mirable is dying, and she has agreed to take a message from Philip to his late wife, Charlotte, killed just a couple of weeks ago in an accident. Philip has unfinished business with Charlotte: he's desperate to know if she forgives him for the awful fight they had just before she died.

Philip pays Mirable. She leaves. And the next night a letter appears in his hallway. A letter from Charlotte, full of things only she could know.

The Correspondent, slyly written by Ken Urban and smartly directed by Stephen Brackett, proceeds to take Philip and the audience on an intriguing and twisted journey, full of unanswerable questions. For the audience, the questions come in two categories. First, what are the characters up to? Who, if anyone, is telling the truth? Second, what is Urban up to? Is he trying to be thought-provoking or to thrill--or both? Do these goals get in each other's way?

I suspect that the answers to these questions will differ from viewer to viewer.

For this viewer, The Correspondent, at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, doesn't hold up to much next-day analysis, but that's okay. It's a well-constructed, largely entertaining, and mostly satisfying 90 minutes, and I enjoyed taking the twisted journey.

(third row, press ticket)

No comments: