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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Fool for Love
Round House Theatre

Also see Susan's reviews of Colossal and Belleville

Thomas Keegan and Katie deBuys
Sam Shepard's playFool for Love is, at its roots, a story about two people who can live neither with nor without each other. Despite the efforts of the playwright, and director Ryan Rilette, to bring elemental grandeur to this setup, the production now at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, is more effective as a showcase for two fine actors in the central roles.

Meghan Raham's scenic design transports audiences to a decrepit motel on the edge of the desert. May (Katie deBuys) lives in a barely furnished room with peeling walls, grimy window blinds, and a slanting, disorienting floor. Eddie (Thomas Keegan), a swaggering cowboy complete with gun and lasso, has tracked her down after a long absence. The cosmic implications of their interplay come through in the smallest details, such as the way the sound of a slamming door reverberates like thunder. (Eric Shimelonis' sound design also incorporates music that sounds as if it has been twisted and manipulated into an unfamiliar form.)

The attraction and repulsion between Eddie and May suggests two magnets propelled by anger, guilt, and lust. They're clutching each other with desperate desire one moment, then one physically attacks the other or makes an oblique threat. May believes that Eddie has been unfaithful with a rich woman she calls "The Countess," yet wonders why he leaves after she orders him out; Eddie belittles Martin (Tim Getman), May's new friend who has no idea what he's getting into when he stops by. Intermittently the spectral Old Man (Marty Lodge) tells a rambling story or shares a pithy remark from his chair outside in the desert landscape. Yes, there's humor sprinkled throughout the drama, but it's the bitter, stinging kind.

Both deBuys and Keegan throw themselves into their characters body and soul, but strong performances don't make May and Eddie any less cryptic as people. The physical contrast between them adds an interesting touch: Keegan is much taller and broader than deBuys, but she gives as good as she gets. Lodge, a longtime Round House favorite, gives dimension to a man looking at a situation he can't change—and wouldn't if he could.

Round House Theatre
Fool for Love
September 3rd - 27th
By Sam Shepard
May: Katie deBuys
Eddie: Thomas Keegan
Martin: Tim Getman
Old Man: Marty Lodge
Directed by Ryan Rilette
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-644-1100 or

Photo by Danisha Crosby

-- Susan Berlin

Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.

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