Sunday, January 4, 2009
ROAD LESS TRAVELLED, Triangles
I did manage to see one more Buffalo play before the close of 2008, Road Less Travelled's production of "Triangles". Long-time friend, composer, musician, artist Alan Kryscak composed and performed the music for the production. The show consisted of three one-acts all somewhat revolving around the concept of romantic love triangles. Al stood on a platform over the stage behind a mesh screen playing surpringly aggressive and somber electric guitar including some entire lyrical songs at intervals and scene changes. No surprise that his playing was excellent, gently blending in to the moods of the production, but the original songs, which could easily stand alone as fine pieces of music, were strikingly in sync with the often light-hearted production, casting a dark and mysterious shadow over an impending expectation of romance. The first two one-acts were short forays into the concept of confronting a third party in a romantic triangle. August Strindberg's "The Stronger", consisted of a woman, dressed as if from the late 19th or early 20th Century, confronting another woman in what seemed an outdoor cafe, who is having an affair with her husband. Only the cheated upon woman speaks to the other in the scene. She rationalizes, compromises, and victors over the silent third party, causing one to consider that this isn't an actual confrontation at all, but an extension of an infuriated subconscience. Celebrated local playwright Manny Fried's "Triangle" follows, inspired by the one-act that preceded it. The same two actresses again play two woman, one who remains silent throughout, while the other confronts her regarding her intent to run off with the woman's husband, this time in what seemed a Depression-era set and costume. These are fine little bits, but they seem to me, as often one-acts do, merely character sketches of a larger piece that was never realized. I see nothing so inviting here but the skillful displays of the two actresses Kristen-Tripp-Kelly and Lisa Vitrano. The third piece, "The Elliptical", seems an entire full length play in comparison. It concerns three young friends, a guy and two girls, maturing into somewhat neurotic and sexually questing adults. It's funny, and slight and lofty, and often comes dangerously close to becoming merely a stand-up routine. When I see a production as sharp and succint as "Triangles" is, I can't help but focus on its shortcomings. The players in "The Elliptical" do a fantastic job hustling about the stage blending time frames and delivering monologues, almost at an action packed pace, but some of the comedic deliveries, especially from the talented ladies, Bonnie Jean Taylor and Kelly Meg Brennan, (so what's with the triple names in Buffalo theatre?), both of whom I loved watching perform this sexy and sweet ode to romantic relationships, get a wee bit tiresome and repetitious. Todd Benzin's performance is a class act; that rare display of light-hearted conviction and exceptional timing; groping, lusting, and conniving after the girls like his existance depended on it. Really, this is a production, so friendly and unassuming, you can't help but love it.