Saturday, October 06, 2007


Kristen Palmer's Departures is a distillation of the love story into our fragile modern world, a show about two tentative lovers who fall into each other--at first out of convenience and carnal needs--and find something there that's sweet and scary all at once. Whether or not it could last, could work, is something that Palmer doesn't try to answer: instead she shows us their first true hookup, and then cuts three months ahead to Cara's return to America, a death-knell of a date that has been "etched into the back of [Andrew's] eyelids" since they first started dating. Palmer doesn't turn to any cheap dramatic tricks: everything is already there, in quiet even tones, that focus on longing, loneliness, and irrational (or rational) fears. Kyle Ancowitz provokes action by setting the whole affair in the narrow frame of a half-pipe, with the audience along the long ends, looking down into the pit of a messy flat. Distance is the third character in this play, though Travis York and Keira Keeley already have perfect chemistry with each other, and the show works so tragically well by keeping a slow, natural pace that leaves the ending up to the audience. I strongly recommend it, though dress lightly as the theater is sweltering hot.

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