performances cure ‘Infinite Ache’
Penny Rathbun, Staff Writer
Monday, January 28,
2008 11:34 AM CST
current production of “An Infinite Ache” is the story of Every Couple
telescoped into 90 minutes.
meets girl. Girl strings him along, but they get married anyway. Boy and girl
have a baby. Boy and girl have a tragedy. Boy and girl live their lives together
until one of them dies.
Pay close attention to this show. It doesn’t
stop to explain anything. David Schulner’s script makes transitions and
scene changes without telling you. Sometimes the lighting and music will tell
you that Every Couple has moved on. And sometimes it just takes the audience’s
attention to detail to realize that a line or two of dialogue has lurched the
characters forward another decade.
That can be a bug or a feature, depending
on whether or not the playgoer’s preference is laundry list storytelling
for every play.
With Lisa Devine’s direction it is possible to keep
up with the action of “An Infinite Ache.” Her interpretation keeps
the audience engaged in what must be a very difficult play on paper to figure
out. Devine figures it out for the audience to the point where watching this show
is a bit like watching two evenly matched teams play basketball.
of evenly matched, Hope and Charles are played by two actors that deliver performances
that make the whole evening worthwhile.
Clayton Shane Farris plays Charles,
a sort of Every Nerd. It takes a while to warm up to him when he brings Hope home
after the first date. Bumbling nerd becomes even more bumbling in the presence
of cute, sophisticated Hope. When he puts on a tape of music he has put together
for his historical writing he really gets into it while Hope decides she has a
Charles almost appears to be suffering from borderline Asperger’s
syndrome and their future doesn’t look bright.
Farris makes nerdy
Charles a complete person, one that is worth getting to know throughout the rest
of the play. As the relationship develops Charles loses most of his nerdiness.
With Hope’s help he gains social skills. Farris navigates Charles through
all of this adroitly.
As Hope, Debbie Cheng portrays the modern woman with
intensity and just the right amount of cuteness. She is better at the courtship
dance than he is, but Hope’s friends surely were asking each other, “What
does she see in him?”
Hope may not know the answer to that herself.
Cheng extricates that and every other nuance from the character with precision.
Farris and Cheng deliver an exciting game. Cheng makes most of her costume changes
on stage while it looks like something else is going on. That’s fun to watch.
and sound are well-matched to the script.