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Fool For Love shows Shepard's dark side
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Fool For Love shows Shepard's dark side

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Fool For Love
Stone Soup Theatre
Through March 14


Sam Shepard's plays don't shy away from violence. He's known as an in-your-face playwright who tackles dark themes and delves into uncomfortable human relationships. Fool For Love, now at Stone Soup Theatre, is one of his best-known works, and is definitely dark.

Eddie (Anders Bolang) has come back to start up the on-again, off-again relationship with May (Annie Lareau). All the typical push and pull of dysfunctional lovers is present. They can't live with each other, they can't live without each other, they tell each other to leave, they come back, etc. Then it's revealed that they are half-brother and sister, and it gets even more uncomfortable. As the audience squirms, we're told that they fell in love with each other, not knowing of their sibling status until it was "too late."

Their father, Old Man (John Clark), had two separate families who didn't know about each other. By the time they found out, they say, they had already formed a deeply dependent bond, which included sex. There is a huge potential script flaw here, since they later describe how they met, and if you believe that story over other dialogue, they met well before they got physically involved. So, what are we to believe?

The play combines fantasy with realism, so maybe the convoluted stories are part of the not-quite-true boundary breaking. Old Man is present in May's home, watching and sometimes commenting on their relationship. Old Man tries to make excuses for himself about how hard it was to avoid loving May's mother, even though he knew it was wrong. Clark does not help clarify why women would fall in love so obsessively with Old Man, nor demonstrate very well Old Man's narcissistic need to focus only on himself.

May has begun dating, tentatively, during Eddie's most recent absence, and Martin (Daniel Arreola) is the hapless "nice guy" that walks into the tumult. Actually, he dives in. He hears a scuffle inside the house as he arrives and bursts in to defend May. Unaccountably, though, he then turns completely cowardly when Eddie confronts him.

In the intimate environment of Stone Soup, actors Lareau and Bolang give intense and explosive performances. It's not a production for the faint of heart. Some of the darker aspects of human relationships are revealed. If you like your theater experience "gritty" then this is a good production to see. For more information, go to stonesouptheatre.org or www.brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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