Also see Richard's reviews of Lasso of Truth and Yellow
Picture one 30-something Guy (Evan Michael Schumacher) on the verge of getting married, finally having found the woman who has inspired him to make vows. What to do before the wedding? Go see old girlfriends, of course, so he embarks on a whirlwind of hotel stopovers to see four "important" women from the past: the ones he left behind, the ones he wronged, or maybe still thinks fondly of. He's a teacher and writer who mines his personal history for his fiction, having already published a short piece revealing maybe too much. Part 12-step seeking forgiveness, part seeking absolution, part curiosity, Guy's literal trip down memory lane has some surprising turns and consequences, perhaps not going the way he expected at all.
There's Sam (Katie Rose Krueger), his high school flame, still bitter and angry from old betrayals. New hotel room, and we meet Tyler (Nicole Javier), a hot lusty babe with seemingly one thing on her mind, until we learn that she, too, nurses some wounds from the wake of Guy's past offenses. Another room, this time in Boston, to reunite with Lindsay (Marjorie Hazeltine), lit professor still reeling from the aftermath of her botched affair with Guy, willing to go quite far with her demands to repair her damaged emotions. Finally, Bobbi (Sara Luna), the one Guy swears was the best of them all, until a surprising reveal throws his confession and in fact the whole project into a new light.
LaBute is good at leaving us to decide for ourselves what the outcome should really be, what Guy should do/might do/ought to have doneor maybe we end up identifying more with the women and their lingering indignation. The script suffers from some repetition and drags a little in the second half, but the superb cast does a great job of keeping it real and moving the action along.
Schumacher impressively nails the role of Guy, playing him utterly straight without commentary, walking a terrific fence for good guy vs. bad guy, lover vs. jerk. His demeanor reacts with subtle differences for each woman, playing off memories of their relationships as well as the awkwardness of reunions. He's got a lot of text to speak, and never fails to make it believable. Schumacher is well-matched by four gorgeous actresseskudos to director Lo for his castingeach one bringing a radically different character to life with beautiful definition and nuance. Krueger, Javier, Hazeltine, and Luna are all marvelous examples of the wealth and depth of Bay Area acting talent.
Set designer Carlos Aceves has achieved much with the Dragon space, and with minimal changes for each scene, nicely delivers four distinct rooms. Nick Kumamoto's lighting design gives us lovely mood for some dream interludes, but is oddly dim for some of the hotel rooms. Costumes by Tanya Finkelstein help to immediately identify each female character, and Lo's sound design is effectively restrained and perfectly suited to the piece.
In short, don't let this one get past you. Because it's 2nd Stages, it only plays one more weekend. Definitely worth seeing!
Some Girl(s) by Neil LaBute, presented by Dragon Productions Theatre Company, 2120 Broadway Street, Redwood City; through March 16. Tickets $15, available at 650-493-2006 or www.dragonproductions.net.
- Jeanie K. Smith