Palin­drome’s fi­nal show pretty, but a bit ob­scure

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - By Cate Blouke Spe­cial to the Amer­i­canS­tates­man if you go contributed by Shan­non bishop When: Tick­ets:

For its fi­nal pro­duc­tion as a com­pany, Palin­drome has gar­nered a stel­lar cast with Babs Ge­orge and Ev Lun­ning Jr. tak­ing the lead roles as an ag­ing mar­ried cou­ple who have been try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate for decades. Up in their at­tic, the pair run through a se­ries of un­fin­ished sen­tences and deeply in­grained rou­tines, reach­ing for an in­tan­gi­ble some­thing hid­den in a hazy fog of emo­tions.

Rather than a straight­for­ward nar­ra­tive (that would lend it­self to sum­mary), the show is more elu­sive, tempt­ing us with the sen­sa­tion of a story with­out ever sa­ti­at­ing our thirst for foun­da­tional plot points.

Har­riet (Ge­orge) has re­treated to the at­tic and her hus­band is try­ing hard to un­der­stand why she is up there and what she is search­ing for.

There are hints and more hints and a lot of red her­rings, but writer and di­rec­tor Nigel O’Hearn’s ap­par­ent aver­sion to ex­po­si­tion turns the show into a swirling mist of shad­ows and things left un­said.

Whether in­ten­tion­ally or iron­i­cally, Harold’s (Lun­ning) sar­cas­tic lines about sym­bols and metaphors re­flect back onto the play it­self. Frus­trated with his in­abil­ity to con­nect with his wife, Harold ex­as­per­at­edly points out that “it’s not more mean­ing­ful just be­cause you say it un­clearly.” “The At­tic Space”

6 p.m. to­day. 8 p.m. Wed­nes­day-Satur­day Where: Sal­vage Van­guard The­ater, 2803 Manor Road.

$10. (6 p.m. show to­day is pay-what-you-wish) In­for­ma­tion: www. palin­dromethe­atre.org And that’s what O’Hearn does — of­fers a po­etic but un­clear pro­jec­tion of some­thing in­dis­tinct: beau­ti­ful and per­haps packed with sig­nif­i­cance, but dis­ap­point­ingly ob­scure.

The dy­namism of Lun­ning and Ge­orge cre­ates some gor­geous mo­ments, and the lan­guage of the play is lovely to hear even if the po­etic reg­is­ter makes it dif­fi­cult to fol­low all the way through. Sim­i­larly, He­lyn Rain Messen- ger’s cameos as the Wit­ness to the scene are well per­formed, even if her pres­ence and role in the drama are con­fus­ing and un­ex­plained.

The pro­duc­tion team matches the tal­ent of the cast, with a lovely scaf­folded set de­signed by Ge­orge Mar­solek. Tara Cooper metic­u­lously con­structed minia­ture ver­sions of the cou­ple, and the pup­pets are gor­geous and a de­light to watch.

O’Hearn in­cor­po­rates a fair bit of stage busi­ness to­ward the end (with some over­whelm­ing shifts in light­ing and strange scenic al­ter­ations) that dis­tract from what seem to be piv­otal mono­logues. The over­all re­sult is a really pretty per­for­mance with mo­ments of deep sym­pa­thy.

“The At­tic Space,” writ­ten and di­rected by Nigel O’Hearn, stars Babs Ge­orge, Ev Lun­ning, He­lyn Rain Mes­sen­ger and Jose Vil­lar­real. It plays at Sal­vage Van­guard The­atre through Dec. 22.

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