Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Review of Haven Theatre Company's The Distance

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Distance. It was by Deborah Bruce and it was directed by Elly Green. It was about this woman named Bea (Abigail Boucher) and she has left her kids with her husband and gone to London where she used to live to be with her friends Kate (Megan Kohl) and Alex (Allison Latta). And they are trying to convince her to go back and get custody of her kids. Kate's brother-in-law Vinnie (Patrick Gannon) is there for a visit, and he doesn't exactly make things easier because all he wants to do is party. Kate and her husband, Darragh (Layne Manzer), have just had a baby but they have been having some problems lately. And there is also a big riot happening in London, and Alex's son Liam (Nik Kmiecik) is near the riot. This play is about not feeling good enough, friendship, parenthood, and freedom. I really liked this show. I felt like it was powerful and funny and sweet.

I felt like the relationship between the three friends--Alex, Kate, and Bea--was sweet but sad because there were some points in their friendship where they wanted to tell their friend she was doing the right thing even though they felt like she wasn't. I've had these moments where I wanted to tell my friend that she was doing the right thing even though I felt like she wasn't, so this part of the play really spoke to me. I also thought that all of them had a kind of messed up relationship with their spouse or ex-spouse and I thought it was really sweet how they would talk to each other about that stuff, even though it wasn't the nicest topic to talk about but they still talked about it just because their friend needed to. There were some moments I felt really bad for Bea because the other girls would get caught up in some gossip and leave her out of it and forget that she was having a terrible time. They disagree on how to take care of children: Kate thinks you should always be around your children all the time and never let them go, and Bea thinks that you don't have to be with your kids to love them, and Alex thinks that you can leave your kids to their own devices and they will figure it out, but she does still love them.

I really liked the set (by Joseph Schermoly). I thought it was super cool how it was like a modern house but then it could also be transformed into a hotel or a couple's bedroom. There were also these little slots behind the stage that could be used to be the outside and space on the side that could be used for the same purpose. And they had these really cool transitions where you would basically focus all your attention on Bea as she walked around the stage. I thought it was interesting. I don't like transitions that just have a blackout; I like transitions that have a lot of movement and feeling. I felt like I was watching Bea being really upset but also kind of dealing with it.

My favorite scene was with Liam and Bea. They start talking and she is trying to talk to him like an adult but she starts out talking to him like a kid or a baby. And I get where Liam is coming from, where he is just looking at her weirdly and doesn't really know what to say or do because he feels awkward. And I thought that that was very funny. But it isn't a very funny scene because then he starts going a little bit crazy because Bea is freaking out because everyone wants her to go back to her kids and she feels overwhelmed. And then he starts to freak out with her because his mom is getting high in the other room and the things Bea says make him think about his own family and whether his mom really loves him because Bea says she is not sure what she feels about her family anymore. And he is talking a lot about his dad and how he is wondering what his Dad is doing even though he doesn't really know anything about him. Which I thought was very sad but sweet at the same time because he really did not know anything about his dad before he left.

The beginning and ending scenes in this show both gave you a way to look at the story they were telling in the rest of the show. They both take place in a hotel room and they both have the same characters in them, The Man (Josh Odor) and Bea. When the show starts, you think that first scene happens right before the next scene, but then you realize towards the end of the show that it happened longer ago. I saw at first that Bea didn't see The Man as just some guy, because they wouldn't have put it in the show then. And pretty close to the end you realize who that guy was, and it completely changed my perspective of the show. It made me think that Bea was not going to go back to her family because it seemed like she was reflecting on what her life was like before she had kids. The thing that made the ending sad is that you could see she wasn't happy no matter what she was doing.

People who would like this show are people who like cool transitions, sad but sweet relationships, and awkward conversations with teens. I think people should definitely go see this show. It was super moving, funny, and beautiful.

Photos: Austin D. Oie

No comments: