Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review of Shattered Globe Theatre's Five Mile Lake

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Five Mile Lake. It was by Rachel Bonds and it was directed by Cody Estle. It was about a man named Jamie (Steve Peebles) who lived in a small town in Pennsylvania. He worked at a coffee shop with a woman who he was in love with, Mary (Daniela Colucci). She wanted to get out of town as soon as she could, but she wanted to stay and take care of her brother Danny (Drew Schad) who had just come back from the war in Afghanistan. Jamie's brother Rufus (Joseph Wiens) and Rufus' girlfriend Peta (Aila Peck) come for an unexpected visit from New York, and the brothers don't really get along because they are very different people. Jamie is thoughtful and wholesome and Rufus cares most about himself and loves the big city. Drama ensues. It is about sibling rivalry, being right for someone, and how the events in your early life affect you later. This was a really intriguing show and it had some really talented actors and some thoughtful direction in it. I enjoyed it.

One thing I noticed about the direction is that the director seems to think that people doing everyday things is interesting, and I agree with that. I worked with this director, on Scarcity at Redtwist Theatre, and there was a scene where my character made coffee and didn't say anything--just made the coffee, sat down, and waited. I think it really works because it makes the audience more engaged with the character because they seem like a real person who does things that they do and they connect with that. It is very humanizing. In this production, Mary and Jamie both arrange a lot of muffins. (It would be cool to think of this show from the displayed muffins' perspective. They get to see a lot of stuff happen!) While Jamie and Mary are arranging, you get to see how these characters go about their everyday life and how they really feel--and sometimes how they express their emotions when no one else is around. They are two characters doing the same general action, but they are doing it differently and that shows you different quirks about the two characters.

A really interesting relationship that I liked was between Jamie and Peta. Even though they have just met, they have this real connection. They seem to get along very well and they seem to want the same kind of things. They both like quiet and being away from the city. They both like the lake. She admires him for the work he’s done on the house. And they both find each other very interesting. I love the scene when she is in the bathtub and she and Jamie connect over very deep and meaningful things like her depression and her wish for a home and a child, which is also what Jamie wants. I think it is a fascinating and beautiful scene. I think they would be very good for each other. But, sadly, she is still with Rufus who doesn’t seem to be good enough for her. Rufus is a very complicated character. I don’t know what to think about him. I feel sorry for him, but I really think he should be better to his girlfriend if he really loves her. Rufus and Mary also have a bonding scene, but they relate to each other about very different things, like gummy worms and wanting to escape, and their love for baked goods. I don’t think that’s a great basis for a relationship. They have also known each other for longer, but they still don’t have the same beautiful and true bond that Jamie and Peta have, which is interesting to think about. I’m worried that maybe what Rufus and Mary want should have happened a while ago, when they were teenagers, but shouldn’t happen now.

I do wish that we had gotten to see the women interact for more than a few seconds. It feels like the men get all this back story and talk to each other--and sometimes to the women--about their feelings. The women have back stories but they don't talk to each other about them and they are sort of rivals at the end. This play seems to focus on the sibling relationships and between boyfriend and girlfriend. It is not at all interested in a relationship between two women, even though the play was written by a woman. Women don't always have to write about women, but I do think all playwrights should try to pass the Bechdel test.

People who would like this show are people who like exploring sibling relationships, bathtub connections, and arranging muffins. I think this is a good show with really intriguing relationships. I’ve thought about it a lot since I saw it, and I really liked it.

Photos: Evan Hanover

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