Friday, November 21, 2014

Lost Lake

Lost Lake is a brief, largely unsatisfying two-hander that only catches fire in its final moments. As the title suggests, both Hogan (John Hawkes) and Veronica (Tracie Thoms) are lost: she's a widowed mother whose professional life quickly unravels in light of a stupid mistake, and he's the wayward caretaker of a dilapidated, largely unrentable lake house in Upstate New York. Longing for idyll and escape for herself and two children, and suffering from a shortage of cash, Veronica agrees to take Hogan's place for a week; she's his only renter for the season. The first seventy-five minutes of this ninety-minute one act unfold banally, with Hogan and Veronica alternatingly arguing over repairs he promised but failed to deliver and disclosing their personal troubles. We learn why Veronica lost her job; why Hogan is estranged from his daughter and essentially homeless; we learn the ways in which they're more alike than might seem at first. Unfortunately, Auburn's writing hardly strikes sparks, and while Thoms and especially Hawkes (under Daniel Sullivan's direction) do fine work, a majority of the play remains uninvolving.

The play's final scene, however, is another story. In fifteen minutes, Auburn is able to capture the depths to which these two people have fallen, and how painfully alone they feel. It's striking in its profound darkness; the playwright rejects the redemptive sluice so fully, and that in itself feels gratifying. I cannot say that it's enough to recommend the play overall, though. Would that Auburn had written an entire work worthy of those fifteen minutes.
[Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission. Last row, extreme side. TDF.]

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