Palindrome’s final show pretty, but a bit obscure
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.