Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alliance Theatre Lab: Fool for Love (reviews)

Alliance Theatre Lab opened its production of Sam Shepard's Fool For Love on June 9, 2011.
The scene is a stark motel room at the edge of the Mojave Desert. May, a disheveled young woman, sits dejectedly on a rumpled bed while Eddie, a rough-spoken rodeo performer, crouches in a corner fiddling with his riding gear. When he attempts to console May, who is distressed by Eddie's frequent absences and love affairs, she seems, at first, to soften—but then she suddenly attacks him. As the recriminations pour out, and the action becomes, at times, physically violent, the desperate nature of their relationship becomes apparent—they cannot get along with, or without, one another, yet neither can subdue their burning passion. The poignancy of their situation (they are half-brother and half-sister as well as lovers) is pointed out by the play's two other characters: a hapless young man who stops by to take May to the movies and becomes the butt of Eddie's funniest yet most humiliating jokes; and a ghostly old man (perhaps their father) who sits in a rocking chair at the side of the stage, sipping whiskey and commenting wryly on what he observes. Eventually May and Eddie tire of their struggle and embrace—but it is evident that the respite is temporary and that their love, the curse of the past which haunts them, will remain forever damned and hopeless.
Adelberto Acevedo directed a cast that featured Arturo Fernandez, Jameson Hammond, Jehane Serralles, and George Schiavone.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
...what actors and directors like Alliance’s Adalberto Acevedo relish in Fool for Love is the chance to leap into edgy theater territory, see-sawing between quieter emotional moments and a shocking, unpredictable physicality.
Fernandez’s Eddie is a tall, rangy guy, soft-spoken and sly, a kind of latter-day Gary Cooper — except that he punctuates his points by shoving May into the wall of the cheap desert’s-edge motel room where she’s holed up. Serralles’ May is desperately trying to avoid falling down the rabbit’s hole of desire yet again, flailing and kneeing Eddie, giving as good (or as bad) as she gets.
With Shepard’s recent Ages of the Moon now at Plantation’s Mosaic Theatre, South Florida is getting an unofficial Sam Shepard mini-festival through June 26. Moon is latter-day Shepard, Fool for Love vintage and vital. Both are worth a look.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami ArtZine:
Director Adalberto J. Acevedo has presented a tight, sharp, seventy-minute diamond.   Wear your shades.   And this is becoming the norm at the Alliance.  I don't know how Acevedo does it (I've seen rehearsal photos of him clutching a baseball bat) but he consistently gets fine, natural work from his actors.  Of course, the actors not being chopped liver helps in a mighty way.
Fernandez' Eddie is a lanky rodeo rider with a rictus sardonicus smile that disembowels with every flash and Serralles' May, cafe waitress, bruised both ways, careens between cuddly and cruel, loving and hating.  These two give us the darkness of love as if they had truly lived the affair.
The Old Man, rocking and drinking, commenting in the minds of Eddie and May, revealing their secrets, is a role made for Schiavone.  He excels.
The four actors, the direction, the set, the sound (ah, the doors slamming) by Howard Ferre, the lighting by Will Cabrera, the costumes by Aubrey Shavonn Kessler, hell, just the whole thing, show, once again, that The Alliance Theatre Lab is doing things the right way.
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
Ably  directed by Lab founder Adalberto J. Acevedo and acted by a handful of talented performers,  Fool For Love  takes no prisoners in exposing a battling reunion by these two characters in a seedy  motel room a the edge of the Mojave desert.
...watching Arturo Fernandez as Eddie, the lanky cowboy, and Jehane Serralles as May, the volatile feminine portion of this impossible duo, is an acting treat. They are two marvelous performers who milk almost as much pathos from their roles as their characters do sipping bourbon (a mainstay of many Shepard plays). is a grim tale, but the acting is so intense, it is the kind of performing you want to experience from the audience seat. You may not like or want to know these characters, but you will admire the actors who play them.
The Alliance Theatre Lab production of Fool for Love plays through June 26th, 2011.

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