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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 16, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 11
Thalia's Umbrella delivers brilliant premiere of The Impossibility of NOW
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Thalia's Umbrella delivers brilliant premiere of The Impossibility of NOW

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF NOW
THALIA'S UMBRELLA
12TH AVENUE ARTS
Through March 31


A new play can make me giddy, especially if I can't guess where it's headed and its subject area is 'about' the human condition in a new and interesting way. We in Seattle are lucky to see a world premiere, being produced by Thalia's Umbrella, before it inevitably goes out into the world and probably wins some cool award somewhere. Y York's The Impossibility of NOW is an unexpected delight, a delicious and magical moment.

The plot is fairly simple. Carl (Terry Edward Moore), a very successful writer, comes home from the hospital. He's had an accident with severe head trauma and woke up remembering little to nothing about his prior life. Miranda (Betsy Schwartz), his wife, has been coaching him in all the life skills that he's forgotten and is hoping he'll get his memory back in time.

I don't even want to tell you much more than Carl has come out of the hospital relishing everything he's learning about life again. In particular, he relishes words and one can almost taste them as he rolls them out of his mouth into the air.

It's a romantic comedy and there is another cast member, Anthony (Joshua Carter) and if there is too much more description, it might ruin your own discovery and enjoyment. Listening to the music of the words and where the story goes is half the fun of this 90-minute unfolding flower. It's delightful and maddening.

The three cast members fit the characters like gloves. Moore's enjoyment of discovery is palpable, and he seems so childlike. It's completely appropriate for a man rediscovering everything.

Schwartz oozes subtext and 'back story' in every scene. She is one of our town's best actors, though not necessarily one of the best known. Here, every hesitation, every conversation, is filled with the kind of complexity that any long relationship might contain. Miranda loves her husband, but not all their history is pleasing to remember, and she has to walk among her own memories of hurt while helping Carl perhaps get his back.

Carter plays an 'everyman,' seeming without much guile or planning, but Anthony does some surprising things that definitely stick an oar in Carl's recovery. There could be reasons you would like Anthony to succeed, and ways in which his actions could be seen to be reasonable.

York's dialogue is such fun to listen to. It feels both discursive like real conversation but also poetic and musical. Director Daniel Wilson has made the most of the script in this production. It's hard to imagine the play mounted in another way.

Set and lighting by Roberta Russell creates a kind of triple function set. Massive, hung backdrops are made to look like imposing abstract wall art in a cavernous and cold large house, while an area with a table becomes a coffeehouse without any changes, and a large dentist's couch becomes a dental office. Incidental music, composed and recorded by Mark Lutwak, Michael Sakarias, and Lucy Peckham (also the sound designer) is pleasant and light and sets the effervescent tone expertly.

Suffice to say that the message of the play is to try to live life 'now,' and maybe after seeing it, you'll have more ideas of exactly what that might mean by example. For more information, go to www.thaliasumbrella.org or https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3211271 or call 800-838-3006.

Discuss your opinions with SGNCritic@gmail.com or go to www.facebook.com/SeattleTheaterWriters. More articles can be found at MiryamsTheaterMusings.blogspot.com.

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